ICDA scholarships

Hundreds of not-for-profit leaders now have the chance to win a part-scholarship to complete the acclaimed ICDA Diploma of Governance.

The ICDA Diploma of Governance is the only Diploma-level course specifically designed for the not-for-profit sector. From 2014 to 2020, the course was VET-accredited and aligned to the Australian Qualifications Framework. Since 2020, the course has been accredited by ICDA, an Our Community enterprise dedicated to meeting the real-world needs of the Australian not-for-profit sector. The fact that the course has its origins in the Australian Qualifications Framework but is now decoupled from it gives students access to the best of both worlds: assurance of the high quality of the course structure and content, without the rigidity or bureaucracy.

While we have offered scholarships in the past for Australia's premier diploma-level governance qualification, currently we are able to offer more opportunities to more individuals across more sectors, providing a leg-up to the most under-represented groups in the country.

$1000 scholarships have been fast-tracked to allow prospective students to apply immediately for any of the following rounds, with decisions made on eligibility within 10 business days of submission.

While applications are rolling – and will remain open throughout the year – places in diploma courses are strictly limited, and scholarships are subject to terms and conditions.

The full cost of the Diploma is $4,500, comprising enrolment, assessment and administration. Scholarship recipients will need to arrange payment of the remaining fee of $3,500.

Note: Scholarships cannot be combined with any special discounts. Only one scholarship can be granted per applicant.

Please feel free to apply for all of the rounds you identify with, where you meet the specific eligibility criteria outlined.

Note: Only one scholarship can be granted per applicant.


The community sector is full of fearless advocates and advocacy groups, but if we’re serious about getting the message across, then it’s important that advocacy groups have the knowledge in the board room that will help them flourish. The Advocacy round of the ICDA diversity scholarships is for those who work or volunteer with an organisation advocating for a change in our communities that will help shape a better future.


The arts play a fundamental role in our communities. They connect us. They educates us. They speak for us. The Arts round of the ICDA diversity scholarships was created to provide an opportunity for those working or volunteering in the arts sector to gain knowledge, connections, qualifications and new skills that will improve governance in the sector.

CALD diversity

It is essential that community boards reflect the communities they seek to serve. The CALD diversity round of the ICDA diversity scholarships is for anyone from a culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgroup wants a leg-up to represent and serve their community.

Climate and sustainability

Climate change is the defining issue of our times. To achieve meaningful action on climate change, we need advocates who are fearless, skilled, knowledgeable and connected. The Climate and sustainability round of the ICDA diversity scholarships aims to help equip advocates for climate change action with the skills, knowledge, experience and connections they need to lead.


Improving access to the boardroom for those living with a disability is about more than providing accessible meeting spaces, information and support. The Disability round of the ICDA diversity scholarships has been created to equip those living with a disability with the knowledge and accreditation required to join a community board.


Throughout Australia, there are many faith-based organisations seeking to improve our society, offering homeless people a safe place to sleep, food to the hungry, and education and help to those who need it in many different ways. The Faith-based round of the ICDA diversity scholarships is for those working or volunteering at organisations that work to advance or promote religious or spiritual beliefs and practices, including Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism and Buddhism, and their sub-types, as well as other sacred and spiritual belief systems.

First Nations Affairs

First Nations Australians continue to be underrepresented on boards throughout Australia. We cannot claim to be doing the best for our communities if we aren’t engaging with those who know them best. The First Nations Affairs round of the ICDA diversity scholarships supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people seeking to gain skills, knowledge and a qualification in governance to join a board, or move into a position of leadership. This round also supports those who works or volunteers with First Nations organisations.


For communities to function at their best, they need to be healthy. Community health organisations play an integral role in ensuring that all in our communities can access health care. The Health round of the ICDA diversity scholarships is for those who work or volunteer for, or alongside, community health organisations and aims to provide the community health sector with the skills, knowledge and connections required to keep our communities healthy.


Our sector is better equiped to improve society if the leadership positions in our organisations are held by a cross-section of those who live within our communities. The LGBTQIA+ round of the ICDA diversity scholarships is aimed at providing leadership opportunities for LGBTQIA+ people.

Rural and regional

The Rural and regional round has been created to provide access to important knowledge, qualifications and connections for those who live outside metropolitan areas. Those who live or work in rural and regional areas are eligible for this round of the ICDA diversity scholarships.


Sport organisations are so often the heart of a community. They keep us fit. They keep us healthy. They keep us connected. The Sport round of the ICDA diversity scholarships is for those who work or volunteer for a sport club or sport organisation, and seek skills, knowledge and qualifications in governance.


While the community sector fares much better than the corporate sector when it comes to gender diversity on boards, there is still a long way to go before we reach parity. We need more women on boards, and more women in leadership positions. The Women round of the ICDA diversity scholarships is for those who identify as women. This round was created to equip women with the skills and knowledge required to get on a board, and move up to a leadership position.

Young people on boards

Many organisations try to shape the decisions young people make on a daily basis, but many of these organisations fail to interact with the very demographic they are trying to influence. Young people on boards can offer new perspectives and insights into how to communicate with young audiences. As a sector, we need to embrace young people, and let them help us to help them. The Young People on Boards round of the ICDA diversity scholarships is for anyone aged 30 and below who is interested in joining a board.

Terms and conditions

The following section details the terms and conditions of diversity scholarships offered towards the Institute of Community Directors' Diploma of Governance.

All applications will be assessed within 10 business days of the date of submission. The number of places is limited and rolling in nature, so please get your application in sooner rather than later.

The full cost of the Diploma of Governance is $4,500, comprising enrolment, assessment and administration. Partial scholarship recipients are liable for the remainder ($3,500).

This fee is payable in full 10 working days before the first day of the course.

If enrolment and fee payment has not been finalised by this time, ICDA reserves the right to re-allocate the scholarship to another applicant.

Applications must be made via the online application system. No mailed, faxed or emailed applications will be accepted. Please read the full details on the applicant site for opening and closing times and dates. Late applications will not be considered under any circumstances, so don't delay.

Please note that previous scholarship recipients are ineligible to apply.

Scholarship recipients need to have read the course snapshot and understand that they will be required to:

  • Have time to watch videos, read course materials and reflect on fundamental governance principles
  • Have the ability to attend and actively participate in all online tutorials and webinars
  • Commit to completing all competency based assessment within twelve months of the first day of the course (you must complete one unit of assessment per month)
  • Commit to transferring the knowledge gained to an organisation once the course is completed.

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