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Inspiring Locals Announced as Future Women NSW Rural Scholarship Recipients

Bathurst Electorate local and recently elected Blayney Shire Councillor Michelle Pryse Jones has been named as one of 24 recipients of the 2022 NSW Rural Scholarship Program. 

Future Women, in partnership with the NSW Minister for Women, Regional Health and Mental Health Bronnie Taylor MLC and the Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole MP, are proud to launch the Rural NSW Scholarship for a second time.

Member for Bathurst and Deputy Premier Paul Toole said regional women like Michelle are the lifeblood of so many bush communities.

“Michelle has already gone above and beyond for our community, and this program will boost her leadership potential as she inspires the next generation of local leaders,” Mr Toole said. 

Michelle, a recently elected councillor of Blayney Shire Council, is the owner and operator of CRT Rural Merchandise store (Hill & Crofts) and has a strong passion for women in business and the role a diverse education plays in their success. Alongside her family business she has experience across disability, agriculture, finance and education sectors developing her skills and knowledge in accounting, financial management, HR, marketing, communication and administration. 

“I have recently been elected as a Councillor for the Blayney Shire Council and through this platform I hope to be able to support the community at another level and will work actively to progress some of my personal passions and interests. Providing post school pathways for young people, particularly those from rural areas that face greater barriers to accessing further education than their city counterparts, is strong interest and passion,” said Miss Pryse Jones. 

Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor, who met with Michelle on a recent visit to the Bathurst Electorate, said the program is designed to connect driven and passionate women from all ages and backgrounds, and help them in developing leadership skills as they progress to the next stage of their career.

 “The cohort, made up of small business owners, psychologists, farmers, business leaders, pilots and field workers will have a unique opportunity to connect and learn from each other in a setting that actively supports and encourages women to achieve their goals both personally and professionally,” Mrs Taylor said.

Cheryl Knight, a Bathurst local, is also a recipient the 2022 NSW Rural Scholarship Program. A rural woman with multiple disabilities, Cheryl is currently employed in the disability sector as a Support Coordinator, where she moderates and contributes to the largest peer learning Facebook page for support coordinators, offers free professional supervision to a range of new entrants to the sector and volunteers as a disability advocate. In addition, Cheryl has also collaborated on multiple projects and white papers related to disability matters, and is working towards setting up an NDIS registered business, owned and operated entirely by people with disability.

“I aim to ensure women with disabilities have options for career progression, flexible employment at market wages and to have a genuine voice in the organisation they work for. This program will enable me to add value to my current and future roles, whilst also ensuring any learnings could be passed on through the disability community,” said Miss Knight. 

Not only do the winners get access to the coveted Future Women Platinum+ Program, valued at $5,500 each, but all 218 women who entered will also receive a complimentary one-year Gold membership, which gives them access to Future Proof, a year-long career development webinar series, and a 50 per cent discount to attend the Future Women Leadership Summit held earlier in March. 

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