A governance scholarship for leaders with disability

  • Applications have closed.
  • All applicants will be notified of the outcome of their scholarship by the end of May 2023.

The Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD), in partnership with 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.

This scholarship aims to:

  • Deliver exceptional, accessible, and inclusive learning experiences for leaders with disability on board governance
  • Build skills, confidence and empowerment of leaders with disability to participate on boards
  • 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 inclusion

The 2023 round will offer 100 full-fee scholarships to undertake either:

Options to attend courses either face-to-face or online are available, with course dates available from August 2023. Please read the Course Information carefully to determine which course is best suited to your experience.  There is also information on the time commitment required for each program provided below.

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 commencing from August 2023.

Applicants should apply for either the AICD Company Directors Course, The Foundations of Directorship program or Governance Foundations for Not-for-Profit Directors program depending on their level of directorship experience.

Option 1: 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).

Course Delivery options: The AICD Company Directors Course is held over five consecutive days for the face-to-face option. An example of a face-to-face day is to arrive by 8:30am for a prompt 8:45am start, and the day concludes at 4:30pm.  The online course is held one day per week over 5 weeks. The timing is usually an 11am start and 5:30pm AEDT finish.

Time commitment:  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 undertaking this course.

Option 2: AICD Foundations of Directorship Program

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

This course is suitable for:

  • directors newly appointed to boards
  • anyone who might be interested in pursuing a career as a director
  • executives and managers who would like a better understanding of board processes

Course Delivery options: The AICD Foundations of Directorship program is held over three consecutive days for face-to-face. An example of a face-to-face day is to arrive by 8:45am for a prompt 9am start, and the day concludes at 4:30pm.  The online program is held one day per week over three weeks. The timing is usually an 11am start and 5:30pm AEDT finish.

Time commitment:  This course requires 50 hours of pre-reading and an optional post-course assessment.

Option 3: AICD Governance Foundations for Not-for-Profit Directors program

The Governance Foundations for Not-for-Profit Directors program provides participants with an understanding of fundamental compliance and performance related roles and responsibilities of directors, specifically in the areas of governance, risk, financial performance and strategy.

This program is offered over 1.5 days and includes the following 3 modules:

  • Duties and Responsibilities of the Not-for-Profit Director
  • Strategy and Risk for the Not-for-Profit Director
  • Finance for the Not-for-Profit Director

This program is suitable for:

  • Executives accepting their first directorship
  • Those who are considering accepting a directorship
  • Executives who report directly to a board
  • Directors who are seeking to transition into not-for-profit directorship
  • Directors of not-for-profit companies and community organisations

Course Delivery options: The Governance Foundation for Not-for-Profit Directors program is held over 1.5 days and is only available face-to- face. The course is run over 3.5 hours sessions over 1.5 days. Day 1 is an 8:45am arrival for a prompt 9:00am start, with the day concluding at 4:30pm. Day 2 is a 9am start and finishes by 12:30pm.

Time commitment: This short course requires approximately 15-25 hours of pre-reading and there is no assessment.

For applicants of the Company Directors Course: Leader to Leader Conversations

Over the course of the program, Leader to Leader Conversations will be facilitated by  Australian Network on Disability, between AICD members and selected scholarship winners undertaking the Company Directors Course . These conversations will bring together the power of storytelling 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:

  • 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. 
  • 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:

  • 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
  • not have been awarded a Disability Leadership Program scholarship in the past. Past scholarship winners of this Program  in 2021 will not be able to apply for this round.
  • meet the entry requirements for the AICD course or program you have chosen to apply for*
  • 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 encourage 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.

National distribution of scholarships

There are 100 scholarships available nationally in this round of the Disability Leadership Program. In order to meet the requirements of the Program, scholarships to be awarded as follows:

  • Culturally and Linguistically Diverse applicants, minimum of 18 scholarships
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants, minimum of 5 scholarships
  • Female applicants, minimum of 20 scholarships

Scholarships available by state:

  • NSW/ACT maximum 26
  • VIC maximum 31
  • QLD maximum 24
  • WA minimum 11
  • SA minimum 9
  • TAS minimum 2
  • NT minimum 4

The minimum numbers indicates that we will award at least this number and the aspiration is to award much more than these minimum numbers. We encourage all leaders with disability to apply for the Disability Leadership Program.

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 from August 2023 from which to choose. Courses are available in all states and territories, although not all locations will be running face-to-face courses.

Scholarship timeline

Monday, January 23 2023Applications open
Sunday, February 26 2023Applications close
Friday, May 26 2023All scholarship applicants are notified of the selection outcomes 
August 2023AICD Course Dates commence
September 2023Leader to Leader Conversations commence

Please reserve these important dates in your calendar. 

Information session

The Disability Leadership Program scholarship information sessions are for anyone interested in hearing more about the program. These sessions will be facilitated by the AICD, so dial in to hear further details of what the scholarship provides, the applications and selection process and how you will be supported throughout. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions of the team running the program.

  • Date: Thursday, February 2, 2023
  • Time: 3:00pm to 4:00pm AEDT

We have compiled some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) around applying for this scholarship. Please click here for FAQs.

Supporting documentation

As part of the application process, you are required to upload a copy of your up-to-date resume. Please limit this resume to a maximum of three pages.

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:

Click ‘APPLY NOW’ and follow the prompts to create a profile

Complete an online Australian Scholarships Foundation scholarship application form and upload your resume.

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  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.

Applications will now close at 11.59pm on Sunday February 26, 2023