Joan Kirner Young and Emerging Women Leaders

Get essential skills, networks and experiences to develop as a leader. This leadership program is open to women in Victoria aged 18 to 40.

Access development and networking opportunities to support you on your leadership journey.

This program recognises the legacy of the late Joan Kirner AC, Victoria’s first and only female Premier.

Applications are currently closed.

What is an emerging leader?

An emerging leader is someone who is new to a leadership position or wants to become an influential leader in their profession, industry or community.

The Joan Kirner Program is for women in the early stages of their leadership journey who want to speed up their development and impact.

The program

You will have access to a range of leadership development and networking opportunities.

Core elements:

  • a program induction session
  • a leadership development training program
  • structured networking events to connect with women leaders
  • individual one-on-one support sessions
  • development of an individual tailored leadership development plan

Optional elements:

  • individual mentoring sessions with an experienced leader
  • role shadowing opportunities with experienced leaders
  • practical skill building workshops to support leadership progression
  • support to gain executive sponsorship within your workplace
  • support to undertake self-directed leadership development activities.

Capped allowances for child care, travel, accommodation and other expenses are available. Please identify any requirements in the Additional Information section of the application form.

The program does not give an accredited qualification.


You are eligible for the Joan Kirner Program if you:

  • identify as a woman
  • are aged between 18 and 40 years at 1 October 2018
  • live in Victoria, regardless of residency or citizenship status
  • consider yourself an emerging leader

Application categories

If eligible, you can apply under the following categories:

Category A: Education

Joan trained as a teacher and implemented one of the biggest educational reforms of the era, the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE). This category awards scholarships to women who show a commitment to education.

Category B: Environment

A strong campaigner for the environment, Joan’s many achievements include founding Landcare. This category awards scholarships to women who show a commitment to the environment.

Category C: Women’s health

Joan played a pivotal role in women’s health policy and in ensuring every region of Victoria had a women’s health service. This category awards scholarships to women who demonstrate a specific commitment to women’s health or women’s health services.

Applicants with a broader commitment to medicine, health and wellbeing, medical research, sport, etc. are not eligible.

Category D: Western suburbs

Joan was instrumental in the development of the outer western suburbs of Melbourne. This category awards scholarships to women who have made a significant contribution to the community in the western suburbs of Melbourne, either through paid employment or volunteer work.

Visit the Victorian Electoral Commission to see a list of included suburbs.

Category E: Aboriginal women

Joan was committed to ensuring fairness for all Victorians, particularly Aboriginal Victorians and the progress of Aboriginal rights. This category awards scholarships to young and emerging Aboriginal women leaders in Victoria.

Category F: Culturally diverse women

Joan valued the contribution made by women from culturally diverse communities. This category awards scholarships to young and emerging women from non-English speaking backgrounds, who were born overseas or whose parents were born overseas.

Please choose one category that best relates to you. You may wish to note a second category relevant to you under the “Additional Information” section of the application form.

What you need to apply

The time commitment for the Joan Kirner Program will vary depending on the activities you choose to take part in. Expect to commit 1-2 days per month to the Program. Some sessions are during business hours, so if you are employed speak with your employer to gain their support.

To complete your online application prepare:

  • responses to the key selection criteria
  • your resume
  • a letter from someone who can confirm your achievements, experience, capability and leadership potential. This could be a professional or academic referee, or a community leader

Assessment process

An independent panel of women from business, government and community assess applications and provide recommendations to the Minister for Women.

The panel is particularly interested in hearing from applicants with demonstrated leadership potential and contribution to the broader community.

We encourage unsuccessful applicants to re-apply.

Your application will be assessed on your:

  • responses to the key selection criteria
  • resume
  • letter of support

You will not need to attend an interview.

Keep your addresses up to date

You will be told of an outcome by the Department of Health and Human Services via post, so you must keep your address up-to-date. The Department of Health and Human Services may also provide updates via email. If you change postal address or email address after submitting your application, please contact Leadership Victoria on 03 9651 6590 or at

Key dates

February 2018: Applications open

6 April 2018: Applications close. Please note that late submissions will not be accepted.

April to August 2018: Assessment of applications by assessment panel

August 2018: Recommendations provided to Minister for Women

September 2018: Outcomes announced

October 2018: Launch and program commencement

November 2019: Program completion and graduation

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Leadership Victoria deliver The Joan Kirner Program at their offices in Melbourne.

General enquiries:

Phone: 03 9651 6590