“It’s changed my life. Doing this course and learning about leadership, it really has,” says Bill Simpson, recent graduate of the AILC’s Certificate IV in Indigenous Leadership and Certificate IV in Business (Governance).

A proud Wakawaka man, Bill’s leadership journey first began around 2008 when he had the opportunity to take part in an Indigenous men’s leadership course with FAHCSIA. That course opened his eyes and set him on the path to taking the AILC’s courses in 2016.

“From there (the FAHCSIA course) I just wanted to learn more about leadership,” Bill says.

“I’ve been on a mission to educate myself outside of the kitchen and doing the Leadership and Governance courses gave me the skills to do so.

“I’m a chef of 28 years and it really opened my eyes to other things that are out there and other career paths that might be available to me.

Bill says he has noticed a difference in himself and his leadership as a result of completing the AILC training, having applied what he has learned both at work and at home.

Bill says the leadership training that he received on course has greatly benefited his ability to lead in his role as a chef in a kitchen, an environment that he says can often be volatile.

“I’ve noticed that you take these leadership principles and take them into work and family. I learned a lot about being a better leader, particularly when it comes to leading in volatile environments,” Bill says.

“My work in cooking is an often volatile environment. I’m now better able to step back from that environment and look at what’ going on, see who’s doing what then step back in and effectively lead people a lot better.

“It has also given me a lot more accountability, being more genuine with things. Making sure that if I say things are going to get done, they now get done.”

One of the highpoints for many AILC students on course is the opportunity to bond with people from all over Australia who they would otherwise never have had the chance to meet. Bill says the coming together of the students on course was one of the most enjoyable aspects of his studies.

“The whole course is one big highlight! Meeting all these deadly people from all over Australia and even meeting the staff from the AILC,” Bill says.

“I also came to have an appreciation of different work styles and group dynamics, seeing how different people approach different tasks and being able to be okay with that.”

After completing two courses in 2016 Bill has big plans for the future, having already just recently established his own consultancy company.

“I’ve established Fire Stone Consultancy, delivering leadership and hospitality talks and short courses and mentoring small businesses who may be in trouble,” Bill says.

“It (the Governance course) helped me realise that almost all of my skills were in some way transferable from hospitality to a more formal business style of work.”

“I’ve also just started in a new job as a mentor and cultural educator for diversity dimensions, working with Woolworths as part of their Indigenous Employment Program.”

Bill says that the courses have greatly benefited him and he would encourage others to take them so that they too can see the benefit of the training that the AILC provides.

“Get into it, stop making excuses,” Bill says.

“It will change your life and it will change the way that you think and lead. It is a benefit to anyone and everyone that does it.”