Professional Development Scholarships Program available to build craft for leadership roles

Professional Development Scholarships Program

Victorian women can build specialist skills to make their mark in the sport and active recreation sector, as part of the Change Our Game Professional Development Scholarships Program.

The program will support women throughout leadership roles in different career stages as per the following:

  • New to the workforce or returning from a career break
  • Aspiring to become a CEO or senior executive
  • Current senior executives, and
  • New or aspiring board directors

With grants available up to $5,000 and $10,000 to complete professional development courses, there is no shortage in career possibilities through four different streams.

There are four streams, each designed to teach industry skills:

Learning Stream:

  • Access specialist skill development, specific to the candidate’s paid role in the sector.

Next Generation Leaders Stream:

  • Access to a leading career coach, on an individual and group basis, to develop the pathway, skills and techniques to become a CEO or senior executive leader.

Executive Stream:

  • Access development in technical skill areas such as strategy, negotiation, change management, accounting & finance.

Governance Stream:

  • Access to a high quality governance program relevant to sporting boards

Ballarat resident Shenae Keleher took part in last year’s 2022-23 Change Our Game Professional Development Scholarships Program in the Next Generation Leaders Stream. She has since been promoted to Chief Executive Officer at FedUni WestVic Academy of Sport.

“The time spent working with my career coach has been immediately impactful, empowering and supportive, which I feel has provided me with the skills for swift professional growth. I’ve described the program to peers as ‘a psychologist for your career, a really great guiding hand’. Connecting with fellow women in our local sporting industry has been invaluable and created a supportive network,” she stated.

Since 2018, the Office for Women in Sport and Recreation has helped 553 participants through Change Our Game professional development programs, including 97 participants in last year’s first Professional Development Scholarships Program.

Individuals and organisations can go for their preferred program stream, with all applications closing at 5pm AEST on Monday 28 August 2023.

For full information and to apply, click here.

Frequently asked questions can be found here.

Staff Writer
Soccerscene is committed to promoting, enhancing and growing the soccer industry in Australia. We believe soccer news has captured the attention of grassroots soccer clubs, apparel and equipment suppliers – which extends to governing bodies, club administrators and industry decision makers. Many of the auxiliary products and services support the growth of the soccer industry in Australia and Asia, a passion we also share and want to express through our work.

Long-awaited new facility welcomed for NSW football staple

Hurlstone Park Wanderers has unveiled new facilities in which they were desperate to acquire following half a century of operation prior to its last upgrade.

The state-of-the-art sports facility was opened on March 22, 2024 – made possible by City of Canterbury Bankstown Council and Football Canterbury.

Hurlstone Park Wanderers are a club which boasts a rich history amongst football within Australia, and in particular New South Wales. Since it’s inception in 1924, Hurlstone Park Reserve has been sustained by the lifeblood of every sporting body across the globe – it’s fans through relentless volunteering for the club’s upkeep. Ensuring playing surfaces were maintained, alongside ensuring club room operations and hospitality for club representatives, supporters and the visiting opponents.

In 1969 Hurlstone Park Reserve was renamed after local Canterbury mayor John Henry Ewen served as Canterbury mayor within the 1920s. The title for the venue was thus changed to Ewen Park.

As one of Australia’s longest functioning football clubs which are currently celebrating their 100th year of operations, the timing of the unveiling of new facilities at their home stadium could not have been more fitting.

Chief Executive Officer of Football NSW John Tsatsimas showcased the progress made on X for the club stating: “Massive congratulations to the club who have been pursuing this project for about 20 years and are celebrating their 100th year this season! A great outcome for this great club and the football community in the Canterbury Association”.

Within his social media post, it was also acknowledged that Australian football great Jim Fraser was honoured by the Canterbury based club in whom he spent his junior years playing at. The former Socceroo had the club room named in his honour. Tsatsimas labelled the former player as a “massive contributor to the game at all levels…forged a career in our game few have emulated over such a lengthy period of time.”

The new building on display at Ewen Park was made possible through the contribution of Wanderers volunteers who contributed to raising funds for more than two decades to emulate the new facilities. The club was also assisted by NSW Government, and their Greater Cities Sport Facilities Fund Grant.

Government facilities investment needs to keep up as Women’s Asian Cup looms

In recent times, Football Australia released their ‘Legacy 23 report’ on the Women’s World Cup which was held in Australia and New Zealand last July.

Sarah Walsh – Head of Women’s Football, World Cup Legacy and Inclusion at Football Australia – reflected on the impact of the Matildas after the release of the Legacy report. The Matildas have been at the forefront of transformative societal change, challenging perceptions and gender stereotypes while advocating for sustained evolution within the Australian and international sporting landscape.

“The Legacy ‘23 post-tournament report delves into the success achieved in leveraging the tournament, however, emphasises the need for increased funding to ensure that the legacy of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 isn’t merely a momentary triumph, but evolves into foundations for a thriving, equitable, and dynamic future for football,” Walsh stated.

The numbers revealed in the report were quite staggering. The document stated that the World Cup had generated a $1.32 billion impact on the economy – with over 86,000 visitors to Australia contributing strongly to that figure.

1,288,175 tickets were sold to Australian based matches, with a global television viewership of almost two billion people.

The event itself played a hugely significant role in promoting physical exercise and well-being across the nation with an estimated $324 million reduction in healthcare costs due to this increased activity in the community.

A key part of the ‘Legacy 23’ plan from the FA was to garner increased government investment in facilities – due to the expected boom of popularity in the sport after hosting a World Cup on home shores.

Football Australia unlocked more than $398 million in federal and state government funding for ‘Legacy 23’ related projects. $129 million of the total funds also positively benefitted other sports – due to facility upgrades to stadiums such as Perth Rectangular Stadium, Brisbane Stadium, Melbourne Rectangular Stadium and the La Trobe Sports Precinct in Melbourne.

Due to the Matildas’ success, and FA’s advocacy, the Australian government contributed $200 million to the ‘Play Our Way’ grant program. This is Australia’s biggest comprehensive investment in women’s sports, with funding to address participation barriers through safe, inclusive and sustainable facilities and programs.

While the allocation of the investment between sports for this grant program has not been made public, football must be at the forefront for a large portion of this funding with a home Women’s Asian Cup on the horizon.

According to FA’s ‘Legacy 23’ report, under 20% of the $398 million worth of government funding was invested into community facilities.

“There remains a significant deficiency in facility investment across pivotal states that demands urgent attention,” FA’s report read.

“As participation demands increase, the strain on existing facilities within the 2,400+ clubs nationwide, already at saturation levels, requires immediate attention from all levels of government—federal, state, and local.

“Addressing this gap is essential to meet the expected surge in participation, improve the experience and retention rate for women and girls on our journey to the national 50:50 target, and continue fostering the wide-ranging benefits that football provides to its community of over 2 million people.

“It will therefore be crucial that grassroots football club facility upgrades materially benefit from the Play Our Way grant program.”

The AFC Women’s Football Committee recently recommended Australia as the host country for the 2026 Women’s Asian Cup – essentially earmarking another monumental football tournament to be held in our backyard.

According to Australian Financial Review, Football Australia is expecting up to half a million attendees for the event, with visitor/organisation expenditure of between $115 and $140 million, making it the biggest female edition of all time.

With the tournament just two years away, it is essential that further grassroots facility investment is allocated by government parties as the demand and popularity of the sport will continue to grow at a significant rate.

FA claims the Asian Cup represented “a crucial platform to advance the goals outlined in the ‘Legacy 23’, particularly in addressing the shortfall in football facility investment.”

“Australia is ready, one of the most multicultural societies in the world, with over 300 different ancestries and almost 20% of our nation’s population having ties back to countries that comprise the Asian Football Confederation, meaning every team that visits our shores will have a ‘home away from home’ feeling,” the report said.

“This esteemed Asian football tournament provides an ideal platform for all tiers of government to employ football as a tool for effectively implementing sports diplomacy and tourism strategies within Asia.”

The governing body believes there is an overall $2.9 billion facility gap to bring grassroots facilities in line to an acceptable level.

They won’t get anywhere near that level of investment from government authorities immediately, but considerably more must be invested before Asia’s biggest female sporting event comes to our shores.

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