The Agri-Women’s Development Trust (AWDT) is about helping women realise their potential to make positive contributions to the growth of rural New Zealand. FMG is a strategic partner of AWDT, whose programmes aim to build women’s confidence and insights into the value of their skills to support them in realising their potential.  Registrations for women who want to consider applying for the 2018 Escalator programme are now open with a closing date of 30th September 2017.  


Escalator was designed and developed by the AWDT to help address the issue of low representation of agri women in governance and leadership roles within the primary sector and rural communities. The programme aims to create a pool of prospective leaders who have the necessary skills and capability to govern and lead rural organisations within communities and the wider sector. The effectiveness of the Escalator programme lies in its multi-layered approach to development.

  • It is a targeted, relevant and individualised learning programme.
  • Participants are selected to ensure commitment and a desire to engage/contribute at a higher level.
  • The coaching, mentoring and support the participants receive from the Trust and each other combine to put the Escalator programme in a class of its own.
  • Escalator has been developed and based on the Trust’s own research, reviews of existing programmes and international best practice.

The programme not only delivers excellent hard skills but deals with the real barriers women can face when engaging in decision-making and provides professional support and solutions.

  • The Trust’s research identified that agri women face a unique set of circumstances and barriers to developing their leadership. Their lives often combine supporting a farming business, motherhood, a career and community involvement. Understanding this, AWDT have designed the programme to achieve results through modules and a structure of support and mentoring that addresses the real issues that women face when taking their skills to the next level.
  • Escalator graduates have achieved outstanding success using their newly developed skills to increase their governance and leadership roles. Some of their stories are captured on the website

 To view a video of Nicki Mckay's experiences completeing the Escalator programmer please click here.

At FMG we believe there is no achievement without risk.  The Escalator programme gives rural women the ability to take a risk, within a supported environment, to further develop their leadership and governance capabilities.  Escalator gives participants the confidence to voice their opinions, develop new knowledge and skills, and build networks that far outlast the programme for the benefit of businesses, communities and families within the rural sector.

Andrea Brunner 
GM Marketing, Distribution and Human Resources