August-September 2019 | Articles

Connecting with youth

Connecting with youth

The Rotary Leadership and Management Programme is an award for young people endorsed by the Institute of Leadership and Management. Tim Cowling, from Faringdon Rotary in Oxfordshire, explains what it’s all about.

The idea originated in 2014, when we wanted to develop something which would reward Interactors and would be acknowledged outside the Rotary organisation. From this idea, the Rotary Leadership and Management Programme was born.

The programme enables clubs to engage with Interactors, Rotaractors and other young people, helping them to develop leadership and management skills through 14 hours of tuition and the implementation of a project.

It results in an award equivalent to a City and Guilds level 2 qualification and is endorsed by the Institute of Leadership and Management.

It was run as a pilot in District 1090 (Thames Valley) in 2015 and in Zambia in 2018. It has now been launched nationally with the support of Past Rotary in Great Britain & Ireland President, Debbie Hodge, and adopted by several districts.

The relevance of the programme has stretched beyond Interact clubs. In District 1240 (Essex, East London & East Hertfordshire), it has become an integral part of the Rotary Youth Leadership Award programme, and in District 1260 (Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire) the scheme is helping students in a special needs school work with their local communities.

The programme helps students to develop leadership and management skills.

We are also in discussion with several other external youth organisations.

The projects include a toy collection for a children’s hospice, organisation of a school concert, a car washing day and a community litter pick.

Each student has a specific area of responsibility and will be required to demonstrate how they managed their part of the task. This is assessed through a formal presentation and interview.

The programme was both beneficial and enjoyable.”

Alongside the project, the students undertake their 14 hours of tuition, focussing on management and leadership skills, delivered by an approved tutor.

They also maintain a workbook or project diary, showing their application of the programme’s material.

The delivery can be by a teacher from the sponsoring school or by a club Rotarian with experience of teaching or training. The project team will run a familiarisation programme for new tutors and will support clubs and schools through the whole process.

Alongside a school litterpick, projects students got involved in also included a toy collection for a children’s hospice and organising a school concert.

This programme demonstrates the relevance of Rotary to the world of young people and rewards them for their involvement.

It increases the profile of Rotary within participating schools, and provides a useful addition to the student’s CV, as well as a talking point at an interview.

In the words of a recent graduate: “The programme was both beneficial and enjoyable in order to get a reward for all our work and progression. It is a good qualification.”

Within Zambia the programme has been accepted as an important development tool for young people. One Zambian student said: “I have learnt new ways to tackle different situations such as time management and communication skills. I am proud to say that these things will improve my overall ability to lead a team or even a nation!”

The Ministry of Education has now asked District 1090 to undertake a programme of training tutors to make the programme self-sustaining in Zambia.


To find out more about the programme, contact Tim via email.

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