Federal Scholarship Program Aims to Boost Indigenous Representation in Boardrooms

Federal Scholarship Program Aims to Boost Indigenous Representation in Boardrooms

An elite cohort of Indigenous business leaders is set to make waves in boardrooms across Australia, thanks to the Federal Government’s groundbreaking $1 million First Nations Director Scholarship program. The inaugural recipients, 45 experienced executives from diverse backgrounds, are poised to take on future boardroom roles following intensive training delivered by the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) in partnership with the Australian Indigenous Governance Institute (AIGI). Federal Scholarship Program Aims to Boost Indigenous Representation in Boardrooms

Launched last December, the three-year program aims to accelerate the development of Indigenous leaders, creating pathways for potential directors to increase representation in boardrooms nationwide. Funded by the Albanese government’s National Indigenous Australians Agency, the program targets 135 Indigenous leaders who will complete the initiative between 2024 and 2026.

“This is a groundbreaking program to boost the representation of First Nations people in boardrooms across the country,” noted Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney.

Participants in the program will receive world-class governance education and mentoring, providing them with the necessary skills and expertise for board appointments. The inaugural group of scholars, drawn from a diverse range of senior business leaders in the First Nations community-controlled sector, aligns with the National Agreement on Closing the Gap.

Mark Rigotti, Managing Director and CEO of AICD, emphasized the importance of expanding governance education and services for First Nations directors. “This is a groundbreaking initiative,” he stated, “as we build our capacity to deliver culturally-sensitive governance training to First Nations directors.”

AIGI’s CEO, Jessica Bulger, highlighted the significance of leadership enriched by cultural knowledge and perspectives. The program, she said, aims to leverage the scholars’ existing contributions and refine their skills through educational and experiential courses.

The scholars will undergo a mentorship program led by experienced First Nations directors and participate in AIGI’s Foundations of Directorship – Indigenous Organisations course. This comprehensive education covers the responsibilities and duties of boards and directors, ensuring scholars are well-prepared for their future roles.

The scholarships offer tailored governance education, mentoring, and workshops, complemented by benefits such as AICD membership and financial support for travel and accommodation. This holistic approach aims to empower Indigenous leaders and increase their representation in boardrooms, fostering stronger governance and leadership within Indigenous communities and industries.

By prioritizing collaboration and cultural sensitivity, the program seeks to make a significant and lasting impact on Indigenous representation in corporate governance. As more First Nations leaders join leading boardrooms across Australia, the initiative paves the way for a more inclusive and diverse business landscape.

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Source: https://nit.com.au/30-04-2024/11112/1m-to-boost-indigenous-representation-on-australian-boards

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