A governance scholarship for leaders with disability

The Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD), in partnership with the Australian Network on Disability, is encouraging leaders with disability to apply for a new round of governance education scholarships, funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services.

As part of the Disability Leadership Program, 200 full fee scholarships will be offered over the next two years.

This scholarship aims to:

  1. Deliver exceptional, accessible, and inclusive learning experiences for leaders with disability on board governance
  2. Build skills, confidence and empowerment of leaders with disability to participate on boards
  3. Improve community perceptions and attitudes towards people with disability through raising awareness and disability confidence, thereby contributing to a more inclusive society.

Scholarship overview and inclusions

The first round of this program is offering 85 full-fee scholarships to undertake either the AICD Company Directors Course TM  or the AICD Foundations of Directorship TM program in 2022/2023.

Options to attend courses either face-to-face or online are available, with course dates available between November 2022 and June 2023.

Each scholarship also includes:

  • a one-year membership to the AICD
  • a subscription to the AICD’s Directorship Opportunities service

From this round, 25 scholarship winners will also be invited to participate in Leader to Leader Conversations (see Course information for more details).

Course information

Successful applicants will be provided with a number of course dates between November 2022 and June 2023 from which to choose.

Applicants should apply for either the AICD Company Directors Course or the AICD Foundations of Directorship program, depending on their level of directorship experience.

AICD Company Directors Course

The AICD Company Directors Course is designed for practising directors from a diverse range of industries and organisations and is ideal for those looking to understand director roles and responsibilities in-depth, take their boardroom performance to the next level and improve their impact in today’s evolving business landscape. In this course you will gain a greater understanding of the practice of directorship and the mindset of a director as a leader of an organisation, before examining the directors’ duties and legal environment, risk oversight, strategy contribution, financial performance analysis and measuring board effectiveness. Participants may attain the Company Directors Course award, through successfully completing the three assessment tasks.

This course is right for you if you are:

  • A practising director
  • A senior executive reporting to boards (minimum 3 years’ experience).

Time commitment: The AICD Company Directors Course is held over five consecutive days for face-to-face and online is one day per week for 5 weeks. This course requires 80 hours of pre-reading and online preparation and an optional post-course assessment. It is recommended to complete the AICD Foundations of Directorship program or have equivalent professional experience before enrolling.

AICD Foundations of Directorship program

The AICD Foundations of Directorship program provides foundational knowledge of the duties and responsibilities of boards and directors.

For directors newly appointed to boards, anyone who might be interested in pursuing a career as a director, or for executives and managers who would like a better understanding of board processes, the AICD Foundations of Directorship program gives you the essential information you need to know.

Time commitment: The AICD Foundations of Directorship program is held over three consecutive days for face-to-face and online is one day per week for three weeks. This course requires 50 hours of pre-reading and an optional post-course assessment.

Leader to Leader conversations

Over the course of the program, Leader to Leader Conversations will be facilitated by the Australian Network on Disability, between AICD members and selected scholarship winners. These conversations will bring together the power of story-telling and connection. Leaders from the AICD membership will be invited to connect with participants from the Disability Leadership Program to hear directly from scholars with disability and increase their understanding of the barriers faced across business and the community. This is your opportunity as a person with disability to connect with Directors to share what employment barriers currently exist in the workplace and on Boards.

As part of the Company Directors Course scholarship application process, expressions of interest will be sought from applicants who meet the below selection criteria:

  1. A willingness to share personal experience of living with disability and how it impacts your ability to participate in the workplace. An openness to discuss barriers experienced and workplace adjustments needed to support people in being able to perform the essential requirements of their role. 
  2. Objectives which align with the purpose of the Leader to Leader Conversations, which include collaboration, sharing, and the mutual benefit of learning from one another.

All applicants for the Company Directors Course scholarship will be provided with the opportunity to express their interest in participating in these Conversations, and their suitability for this will be assessed following the awarding of the scholarships.

If you are successful, you will be invited to attended one Leader to Leader conversation in the State in which you reside. For NSW, VIC and QLD these sessions may be face to face. For ACT, NT, SA, TAS and WA they will take place virtually.

Eligibility requirements

To be eligible for the Disability Leadership Program, scholarship applicants must:

  • Meet the entry requirements for either the AICD Foundations of Directorship program, or the AICD Company Directors Course*
  • identify as a person with disability, mental health condition, or chronic illness (including physical, intellectual, sensory, neurological, learning disability Psychological or immunological), as defined by the Disability Discrimination Act 1992
  • have never been, nor are you currently, disqualified from being a director of a corporation or organisation
  • be able to demonstrate leadership potential within your organisation or community
  • apply for a course in your own State of residence
  • agree that any travel costs associated with participation will be at your own expense
  • agree to course time and deadline commitments
  • be aged 18 years old or over
  • be an Australian Citizen or permanent resident

We welcome applicants that reflect the diversity of Australia’s population and encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse people and women to apply.

The Australian Scholarships Foundation is pleased to work with AICD to administer these scholarships, to contribute to and strengthen capability building in underrepresented areas of leadership. As such, the general eligibility requirements of our not-for-profit scholarships do not apply.

*See Course information for details on entry requirements.

What will applications be assessed on?

Applications will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Alignment with the candidate’s director journey, highlighting development benefits
  • Candidate’s potential for leadership and impact on community
  • Barriers to participation in leadership and education
  • Financial literacy and directorship/executive experience.

Applications will be assessed by a group of panellists from AICD, Australian Network on Disability and the Australian Scholarships Foundation.   

Course dates and locations

Applicants will be provided with a number of course dates between November 2022 and June 2023 from which to choose. Courses are available in all states and territories, although not all locations will be running face-to-face courses.

Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 situation and challenges that remain for intrastate and interstate travel, applicants must apply for face-to-face courses in their state or territory of residence. Online course dates will also be offered as part of this program.

Key dates

27 JuneApplications open
24 July at 11.59pm AESTApplications close
23 September 2022All scholarship applicants are notified of the selection outcomes
November 2022 – June 2023Course dates available

Please reserve these important dates in your calendar. 

Supporting documentation 

As part of the application process, you are required to upload a copy of your up to date resume.

If you are applying for the Company Directors Course, you are also required to provide an endorsement letter written by your organisation, i.e., the CEO (or member of the Board if you are the CEO of your organisation). If you are a non-executive director, you may obtain a letter from a fellow board member (ideally the Chair) or the CEO of the organisation. If you are unable to obtain an endorsement letter from your organisation, please contact the Australian Scholarships Foundation to discuss your options.

Please see #3 of our FAQ’s for some tips on what to include in the endorsement letter. 

How to apply

To apply for a scholarship, please complete the following steps:

  1. Click ‘APPLY NOW’ and follow the prompts to create a profile
  2. Complete an online Australian Scholarships Foundation scholarship application form and upload your resume.
  3. letter of endorsement from your employer is required for those who apply for the AICD Company Directors Course. More information on what should be included in an endorsement letter can be found under #3 of the FAQ’s.

If you have any adjustment requests or accessibility requirements to complete this application form, please do not hesitate to contact [email protected] or call 1300 248 675

More information

For further information on the scholarship contact Australian Scholarships Foundation via [email protected] or call 1300 248 675.

For further information on AICD courses and membership please contact 1300 739 119, visit the AICD website or email the AICD Scholarships and Grants Team on [email protected].

For further information on the services the Australian Network on Disability provide, please visit the Australian Network on Disability website.

Funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services. Go to www.dss.gov.au for more information.

Frequently asked questions

  1. Is there an application fee?
    • No, we do not charge individuals or organisations to apply for a scholarship.
  2. Why must the applicant be an Australian citizen or permanent resident?
    • The Australian Scholarships Foundation is recognised as a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR). The Australian Income Tax Act requires that funds donated to a DGR for scholarships can only be used for scholarships awarded to Australian Citizens or Permanent Residents. The Income Tax Act does not provide for any exceptions to this requirement.
  3. What’s included in an endorsement letter?
    • Along with an application form, most Australian Scholarships Foundation supported scholarships require you to upload an endorsement letter written by your supporting organisation, i.e., the CEO (or member of the Board if you are the CEO of your organisation). If you are a non-executive director, you may obtain a letter from a fellow board member (ideally the Chair) or the CEO of the organisation.
    • They need to clearly state their support for you to undertake the study and what benefit it will be to the organisation, as well as any other information they believe may help the success of your application. Endorsement letters should be approx. an A4 page in length and include the employer’s contact details. A variety of Australian Scholarships Foundation assessment panel members and representatives from the education provider will read your endorsement letter so you may simply address it to the “Australian Scholarships Foundation Assessment Panel”.
  4. Is the application process accessible to people with disabilities?
    • The Australian Scholarships Foundation is committed to providing an equitable and accessible experience for all scholarship applicants. We utilise Good Grants for our online application platform, which meets W3C WAI’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1, Level AA conformance. If you require any reasonable adjustments please do not hesitate to contact the team at [email protected] or 1300 248 675.
  5. What reasonable adjustments are available for the application process?
    • The team at Australian Scholarships Foundation will work with you to understand and meet your specific needs so that you can complete your scholarship application, such as providing the application form in an accessible Word format. Please contact us to discuss any adjustments which you would find beneficial, at [email protected] or 1300 248 675.
  6. I didn’t receive a confirmation email when I submitted my scholarship application. What should I do?
    • Login to our scholarships application portal and access your profile in the top right-hand corner, under your name.
    • Go to ‘Preferences’ and ensure you have allowed ‘Broadcast emails’. This is how the Australian Scholarships Foundation will contact you in relation to the progress of your application, so it is important you allow us access to contact you.
    • If you require assistance with this process please do not hesitate to contact the team at [email protected] or 1300 248 675.
  7. I missed the application deadline – can I still apply?
    • No. Unfortunately, late applications cannot be accepted.

Applications for the 2022 Disability Leadership Program scholarship close at 11.59pm AEST on Sunday 24 July 2022.

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Directing Change Scholarship 2022

Australian Network on Disability and Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) awarded 22 full-fee scholarships to undertake either the Foundations of Directorship program or the Company Directors Course at AICD in 2022. Plus, 8 months of mentoring with an Australian business leader to help winners maximise their board career opportunities.

Round 2 of the Directing Change Scholarship for 2023 will be released in late 2022. Read full criteria for Round 1.