A new program launched by the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) on Friday 9 April 2021, the AIS Athlete Accelerate Program, aims to support female professional athletes by increasing career pathway options so they can continue to progress their leadership skills in sport well beyond their athletic careers.
The program will be available for up to 15 athletes and will reportedly be funded by the Australian Government’s Office for Women and will be supported by Sport Australia.
“Australia’s elite sportswomen play a pivotal role in inspiring and modelling leadership to Australian women and girls,” says Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Marise Payne.
Minister Payne adds that this “investment in our elite women athletes will provide them with development opportunities to reach their leadership potential”.
Minister for Sport, Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck adds that the Government is “committed to supporting further opportunities for women athletes” and that “there is a huge scope to increase the number of women in leadership positions in Australian sport”.
“This program will enable more women to further their careers and foster the growth of future athletes and sports leaders, which is exciting,” says Minister Colbeck.
‘About identifying leadership skills’
AIS CEO Peter Conde says that the program is “about identifying the leadership skills that already exist in our elite women athletes” and that the “talent pool of potential future leaders [among elite women athletes] is fantastic”.
Mr Conde explains that the program will “provide elite women athletes with professional development in areas such as career action plans and building professional networks”.
“We want women who participate in this program to be part of the catalyst for change,” says Mr Conde, adding that this program was “designed to deliver transformation”.
“To ensure this program makes a genuine difference, high performance sport leaders are required to support the application process so they can influence and advocate on behalf of the athlete,” continues Mr Conde.
“We need the buy-in of current leaders to ensure we continue breaking down barriers and make real change to our sporting workforce.”
Former and current categorised athletes who are employed by a state or national sporting organisation in a part-time or full-time capacity or those ready to advance their sports administration or coaching career are encouraged to apply for the program.