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Women's Board Leadership Program

Take the next step in your board career with this scholarship.

Overview

Individuals
Open, closing in 13 days

This scholarship program provides governance training and networking to help women advance their board careers. All women in Victoria with prior experience serving, or a desire to serve, on Government or not-for-profit boards or committees of management can apply.

The program has 3 streams of entry:

  • ‘Starting with board skills’ – for applicants with no prior experience on boards or committees of management
  • ‘Strengthening board skills’ – for applicants with up to 3 years’ experience serving on Government or not-for-profit boards or committee of management.
  • ‘Mastering board skills’ – for applications with more than 3 years’ experience serving on Government or not-for-profit boards or committee of management.

We welcome applicants that reflect the diversity of Victoria’s population and encourage Aboriginal women, culturally diverse women, women with a disability, women who live in rural and regional locations and LGBTIQ people to apply for the program.

The 2021 program is delivered in partnership between the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Office of Women.

2021 applications open 9 June

Check out our other women's leadership programs

Guidelines

  • You are eligible for the Women’s Board Leadership Program if you:

    • Identify as a woman
    • Are able to remain in Australia to work and study for a period of at least 5 years
    • Are a resident of Victoria at the time of application
    • Have experience serving, or a desire to serve, on a Government or not-for-profit board or committee of management
    • Have never been disqualified as a company director
    • Are able to commit to program time commitments

    If you are currently a board director, you must be serving on a Victorian Government board or a not-for-profit board.

    Definition of ‘board or committee of management’

    A Board or Committee of Management is a group of people who govern, manage or direct a company or organization, and are responsible for its compliance.

    The body may be referred to by different names, including as a 'Council'. In smaller community organisations, such as sporting clubs or day care centres, 'Committee of Management' or simply 'Committee' may be the name used.

    The key element in determining the relevance of the body for the purposes of this program is the extent to which it holds the function outlined above: to govern, manage or direct or company or organisation, including with regard to compliance.

    Time commitment

    The time commitment for the Women’s Board Leadership Program will vary depending on your stream of entry. Expect to commit 8 to 15 days for networking, pre-work and face-to-face coursework across the programs.

    Some sessions are held during business hours, so if you’re employed you should gain your employer’s support.

    Contact

    For more information contact womensleadership.fv@dffh.vic.gov.au

  • The program

    You will have access to governance courses from the Australian Institute of Company Directors. The program includes networking and coursework that will develop your governance knowledge and leadership skills.

    The program has three streams of entry: one for applicants without prior experience on a board or committee of management, one for applicants with up to three years’ experience, and one for applicants with more than three years’ experience. 

    The program is designed so that you apply to participate in one of the three program streams offered, based on your level of existing board experience.

    On the application form you will be asked to nominate the program stream that you are applying for. Please read through the descriptions for each stream to ensure that you apply for a program for which you are eligible.

    The three streams

    Starting with board skills 

    Learn about the duties and responsibilities of boards and directors.

    This program is for women who do not yet have prior experience serving on boards or committees of management and may be in an earlier phase of their professional careers. 

    This program includes:

    • Governance Foundations Integrated Workshop 
      • This program will provide you with a greater awareness of a director’s fundamental duties. The program is delivered in-house by the AICD and contextualised to the successful applicants to the ‘Starting’ stream. 
        Time commitment: 2 full days and approximately 20-30 hours of pre-program reading.
    • Boardroom Effectiveness for Women
      • This course will provide you with knowledge of the competencies of effective leaders. It will examine the role of female directors as leaders and consider ways in which women can enhance their leadership skills to improve board and organisational outcomes and performance.
        Time commitment: A 60-minute pre-course webinar, followed by a one-day session and post-course reading components.
    • Finding Board Positions Workshop 
      • This in person workshop will provide you with practical tools to assist with the recruitment process when applying for a director position.
        Time commitment: One full day
    • 1-year membership with the Australian Institute of Company Directors
    • Networking with other participants

    Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 situation and varying requirements within the State, the method of delivery will be either face-to-face, or virtual utilising Zoom video conferencing. The delivery method for each course element will be confirmed with participants in advance, but participants should ensure they are able to commit the time to attend in either format.

    Strengthening board skills

    Deepen your understanding of the duties and responsibilities of boards and directors.

    This program is for women in the early stages of their board careers (with up to three years’ experience serving on a board or committee of management) who want to enhance their existing their leadership and governance skills.

    This program includes:

    • Foundations of Directorship™ 
      • This program will provide you with a comprehensive overview of the main components of directorship – governance, strategy, risk and finance. You will establish a new director-oriented outlook that will prepare you for a successful board director career. The program is offered as part of the AICD public course schedule and will be delivered in a mixed-gender environment, with opportunity to engage with participants from across business, government and not-for-profit sectors.
        Time commitment: 3 full days and approximately 20-30 hours of pre-program reading.
    • Boardroom Effectiveness for Women
      • This course will provide you with knowledge of the competencies of effective leaders. It will examine the role of female directors as leaders and consider ways in which women can enhance their leadership skills to improve board and organisational outcomes and performance.
        Time commitment: A 60-minute pre-course webinar, followed by a 1 full day session and post-course reading components.
    • Learning in Practice Forum Groups
      • The forum groups will provide participants to put learning in to practice through board simulations and real-world circumstances. Forum Groups will be facilitated by an expert director. 
        Time commitment: 3 x 2 hour monthly meetings 
    • 1-year membership with the Australian Institute of Company Directors
    • Networking with other participants

    Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 situation and varying requirements within the State, the method of delivery will be either face-to-face, or virtual utilising Zoom video conferencing. The delivery method for each course element will be confirmed with participants in advance, but participants should ensure they are able to commit the time to attend in either format. 

    Mastering board skills

    Take your board performance to the next level.

    This program is for women who are experienced board directors (with more than 3 years’ experience serving on a board or committee of management), in particular board chairs and office bearers such as treasurers and board secretaries.

    This program includes:

    • Company Directors Course™
      • 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. The program will be delivered in-house by the AICD and contextualised to successful ‘Mastering’ stream applicants.
        Time commitment: 5 full days and approximately 40-60 hours of pre-program reading.
    • Boardroom Effectiveness for Women
      • This course will provide you with knowledge of the competencies of effective leaders. It will examine the role of female directors as leaders and consider ways in which women can enhance their leadership skills to improve board and organisational outcomes and performance.
        Time commitment: A 60-minute pre-course webinar, followed by a 1 full day session and post-course reading components.
    • Learning in Practice Forum Groups
      • The forum groups will provide participants to put learning in to practice through board simulations and real-world circumstances. Forum Groups will be facilitated by an expert director. 
        Time commitment: 3 x 2 hour monthly meetings 
    • 1-year membership with the Australian Institute of Company Directors
    • Networking with other participants

    Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 situation and varying requirements within the State, the method of delivery will be either face-to-face, or virtual utilising Zoom video conferencing. The delivery method for each course element will be confirmed with participants in advance, but participants should ensure they are able to commit the time to attend in either format. 

    Additional element: Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Women’s Forum Group

    In addition to participation in the relevant stream, successful applications who identify as of a culturally and linguistically diverse background will be able to participate in an additional ‘CALD Forum Group’. The CALD Forum Group will bring together women from across the three program streams, providing opportunities to explore diversity, inclusion, and cultural awareness in the boardroom. 

    This Forum Group has been instituted in the 2021 program in recognition of past participant’s feedback around the particular experiences of women of CALD background, and the value of shared space to engage on these. The Forum Group will provide participants with opportunities to share and learn from each other’s’ experiences and perspectives. 
    Time commitment: 3 x 2 hour monthly meetings 

  • Applications are assessed by an independent panel of women from business, government and community. This panel provides recommendations to the Minister for Women.

    We encourage previously unsuccessful applicants to re-apply.

    You will not need to attend an interview.

  • To complete your online application, prepare:

    • your resume.
    • a letter of support from the Chair of a board that you serve on, or a professional referee who can confirm your board or other leadership achievements, capability and potential.
    • responses to the key selection criteria. 

    The key selection criteria are contained in the online application -accessible via the ‘Apply now’ button, below. Once started, you are able to save and exit the application, and complete it at a later time, prior to the deadline. 

    Apply now

    Additional support available

    Capped allowances for child care, travel and accommodation are available for those who require this support.

    You will be asked to identify these requirements in the 'Additional information' section of the application form.

    Key dates

    • Wednesday 9 June: Applications open
    • Friday, 9 July (midnight): Applications close. Please note that late submissions will not be accepted.
    • July - mid-October 2021: Assessment of applications is conducted by the assessment panel with shortlist approved by the Minister for Women.
    • Mid-October – early-November 2021: Outcomes are announced
    • December 2021: Program commences

    Need additional information?

    If you have questions about the program, have questions about filling out the online application form, or would like to request a hard copy application form, please email womensleadership.fv@dffh.vic.gov.au.

Reviewed 15 June 2021

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