A high-profile graduate has sung the praises of the Leadership Great South Coast (LGSC) program and has encouraged others to take on the challenge.
Applications are now open for scholarships to fund people wishing to take part in the LGSC 2021 program.
There are 12 scholarships for the program that are up for grabs.
These include South West Community Foundation, Hugh Williamson Foundation, Port Fairy and District Community Bank, Leadership Great South Coast, Wannon Water, Gardiner Foundation (x2), Agriculture Victoria , Denis Tricks AM, Great South Coast Food and Fibre Council, Committee for Portland, Corangamite Shire.
Warrnamnbool City councillor Sue Cassidy successfully completed the program in 2016, the year she also first took her seat at the council table.
Cr Cassidy said the LGSC program had proved an invaluable tool in her role as councillor.
"I can't talk highly enough of the program, I still reflect back now and go through my notes," Cr Cassidy said.
"It was the best thing I could have done to prepare for going on council.
"It is full-on but very rewarding and you make a lot of good connections."
Cr Cassidy said the program helped hone her public speaking skills as well as learning what is involved with chasing funding sources and bringing together different groups in the community.
Participants also get the opportunity to work with council and see up close some of the processes involved with local government.
Moyne Shire mayor Daniel Meade also took part in the 2016 program.
LGSC executive officer Amanda Hennessy said the program was looking for individuals that could make a difference in what would be a challenging 2021.
"Often our program applicants come to us with fantastic project ideas that they haven't been able to get off the ground due to timing, lack of funds or capacity," Ms Hennessy said.
"In these cases, LGSC can assist by providing support, training, advice and leverage to get projects up and running. With our networks we can also assist in attracting support and funding for the right projects.
"Our graduates are the first to say that LGSC is not for the faint-hearted, it is a hands-on, personal and professional development opportunity, not an academic program."
Ms Hennessy said the program had received glowing reviews from many who had taken part.
She said one former participant said the program had changed their life, by giving them the confidence to follow their passions.
The 2021 program will run from February to December.
Program applications close October 31 and can be found at www.lgsc.org.au