Fellowship FAQ page

Women leading bkg

What is the Women Leading Locally Fellowship Program?

The Women Leading Locally fellowship program is an initiative of the Victorian Government delivered by the Institute of Community Directors in partnership with Women for Election. The program aims to increase the representation of women councillors and mayors in Victoria by supporting 120 women from 30 target municipalities through two Women Leading Locally fellowships.

60 fellowships will be offered in 2022, and a further 60 in 2023.

Are there any introductory sessions to find out more before applying? And how much does it cost to attend one?

A series of introductory seminars are being held to build awareness of the program, explain what it involves and encourage women to stand for council - or support each other to do so. The sessions will help highlight the often-invisible work of women leaders and encourage them to get involved in local politics. Seminar participants will also hear how they can play a role in supporting other women into power.

The seminars are free to attend.

Seminars are being held in person in city, rural and regional locations across Victoria and online. Click here to find out dates and locations and register to attend.

How much does it cost to participate in the Women Lead Local Government Fellowship program?

There is no cost to enrol in the program. All costs associated with the compulsory, in-person “kick-off” seminar are also included, and a hardship fund is available to support costs associated with travelling to the celebration event at the end of the program.

Are there any out-of-pocket costs involved?

All costs associated with the compulsory, in-person “kick-off” seminar are also included and a hardship fund is available to support costs associated with travelling to the celebration event at the end of the program.

What are the compulsory elements of the program?

The program will commence with a compulsory, in-person 5-hour seminar to be held in Melbourne on Saturday 20 August 2022.

The session will provide a course outline and introduction, mentoring introduction and commence the building of networks. The following nine months will include ten interactive online Masterclass sessions which build campaigning skills and build a strong network. To participate in the Fellowship, eight of these Masterclass sessions are compulsory and two are optional. However, to gain the Certificate in Community Leadership and Governance (Local Government) it is required that Fellows attend all ten sessions. The Masterclass sessions take place between 24th August 2022 and 19th April 2023.

What does the program involve? What will I learn?

The program will commence with a 5-hour in-person seminar combining course outline and introduction, mentoring introduction and building networks. The following nine months will include ten online interactive Masterclass sessions which build campaigning skills and build a strong network. Masterclasses are specialist sessions designed to build skills and knowledge which will be critical to support running for election. The program will include regular mentoring circles with co-participants after completing the masterclasses, and end with a celebration event in May 2023. Please see the FAQ regarding time commitment for specific dates and times.

Will I receive any accreditation or certification?

The “Community Leader Fellowship” is a program of Masterclasses and mentoring to support women with the skills and networks to run a successful campaign for Local Government election. The “Certificate in Community Leadership and Governance (Local Government)” will be awarded to those who have attended the compulsory elements of the program and any preparation for sessions which has been required to gain certification. The certificate recognises the skills developed in the program, which can be applied in many areas of community leadership.


What time commitment is required of fellows? Where can I find the program and course content?
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Fellows must attend the face-to-face kickoff event in Melbourne and least eight of the 11 online workshops (allow two to five hours per workshop).

  • Saturday 20 August 2022: Face-to-face kickoff event: half day and evening
  • Wednesday 24 August 2022: Masterclass 1 (Power Up Your Community) – optional/compulsory - 2-3 hours
  • Thursday 8 September 2022: Masterclass 2 (Governance for Local Government Leadership) – optional/compulsory - 2-3 hours
  • Tuesday 20 September 2022, orTuesday 12 October 2022: Masterclass 3 (Successful election campaigning for Local Government in Victoria)
  • Wednesday 5 October 2022, or Wednesday 19 October 2022: Masterclass 4 (Successful election campaigning for Local Government in Victoria, part 2)
  • Wednesday 2 November 2022: Masterclass 5 (Navigating difficult conversations)
  • Wednesday 23 November 2022: Masterclass 6 (Halfway mark and mentoring)
  • Wednesday 8 February 2023: Masterclass 7 (Traditional and Social Media Upskilling)
  • Wednesday 1 March 2023: Masterclass 8 (Self-advocacy)
  • Wednesday 29 March 2023: Masterclass 9 (Candid Conversations)
  • Wednesday 19 April 2023: Masterclass 10 (Time for Lift Off!)

We also strongly encourage Fellows to attend the celebratory event in May 2023 in Melbourne. More details will be provided closer to the time. A hardship fund is available for those who need help to cover the costs of travelling to Melbourne for the celebration event.

Some Masterclass sessions require preparation prior to attending and follow up reading and to gain the certificate.

Of course, you will also need to devote time to preparing for and running your election campaign in the leadup to the October 2024 elections.

Who is overseeing and delivering the fellowship?

The fellowship is administered by the Institute of Community Directors Australia, with speciality content and mentoring provided by Women for Election, a non-partisan not-for-profit with a mission to inspire and equip more women to run for public office. Other key partners, including non-partisan organisations Orijen and Politics in Colour, will assist in delivering key components such as mentoring and campaign skills.

Program design and delivery is informed by a specially convened reference group comprising women from diverse backgrounds who understand the barriers placed before many women aspiring to public office.

Who is eligible to apply for the fellowship program?
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The program targets applications from women living in the 30 council areas where women were most under-represented after the October 2020 local government elections, including urban, regional and rural locations across Victoria (see list below).

It also welcomes applications from women from all ages and backgrounds - First Nations women, women who live with disability, women from diverse cultural backgrounds and LGBTQI+ women – are all especially encouraged to apply. The key requirement is that you have a passion for your local community.

You must be eligible to stand for election for a local council in Victoria in October 2024 – see eligibility requirements here.

You must also be able to demonstrate how you fulfill our two key assessment criteria:

  • Demonstrated community leadership experience and/or potential
  • Passion for and understanding of your local community

You must be willing and able to commit to the full 12-month fellowship, which includes some face to face (in Melbourne) and some online components, as shown in the FAQ above.

You must be eligible for stand for election in October 2024 in one of the 30 target municipalities:

  • Ararat (Rural City)
  • Bass Coast (Shire)
  • Baw Baw (Shire)
  • Benalla (City)
  • Buloke (Shire)
  • Campaspe (Shire)
  • Cardinia (Shire)
  • Colac Otway (Shire)
  • East Gippsland (Shire)
  • Frankston (City)
  • Gannawarra (Shire)
  • Glen Eira (City)
  • Glenelg (Shire)
  • Golden Plains (Shire)
  • Greater Geelong (City)
  • Hume (City)
  • Mansfield (Shire)
  • Mildura (City)
  • Moira (Shire)
  • Mount Alexander (Shire)
  • Moyne (Shire)
  • Northern Grampians (Shire)
  • Pyrenees (Shire)
  • Swan Hill (Rural City)
  • Towong (Shire)
  • Wangaratta (Rural City)
  • Wellington (Shire)
  • West Wimmera (Shire)
  • Wodonga (Rural City)
  • Wyndham (City)

Can I still apply if I’m not in one of the 30 priority local government areas?

Women in the 30 priority municipalities above will be prioritised for selection in the program. There may still be opportunities for women outside these areas to be included, depending on the number of applications received.


How many fellowships will be awarded?

60 fellowships will be offered to women from diverse backgrounds across the 30 target municipalities in 2022, and another 60 in 2023.


What if I can’t complete the fellowship?

We will support you to the best of our abilities to complete the program. However, if you are in doubt about your ability to participate fully in and complete the program, please reconsider your application. The aim of the program is to support as many women as possible to stand for election in 2024 so we want to keep as many fellowship places as possible for those who are confident of their ability to finish the course and carry the lessons through to the elections.


What if unforeseen circumstances arise?

Please contact service@ourcommunity.com.au with “Women Leading Locally Fellowship” in the subject line to request support at an early stage if you are facing challenges when participating in the program. You will participate in a check-in session halfway through the masterclass program, with an opportunity to share any concerns you have.


How do I apply?

You will be able to apply for the 2022 program on or after 12 May 2022. The application form will be available via this page. It has questions requiring your contact details, tick box questions about your background as well as open ended questions to allow you to share your passion for your community and your leadership goals. The form will take approximately 1-2 hours to fill in. You can save the form to return to later.

Applications close on 28 June 2022.

If you experience any trouble accessing or completing the application form, please contact service@ourcommunity.com.au with “Women Leading Locally Fellowship Application” in the subject line.


When do applications open?

Applications for the 2022 program will open on 12 May and close on 28 June. The program will commence on Saturday 20 August with a face to face event in Melbourne.

Applications for the 2023 program are scheduled to open in March 2023. The 2023 program will commence on 24 May 2023 with a face-to-face event in Melbourne.


What if I can’t complete the fellowship?

We will support you to the best of our abilities to complete the program. However, if you are in doubt about your ability to participate fully in and complete the program, please reconsider your application. The aim of the program is to support as many women as possible to stand for election in 2024 so we want to keep as many fellowship places as possible for those who are confident of their ability to finish the course and carry the lessons through to the elections.


How do I apply?

You will be able to apply on, or after May 12. At this point, the form will be shared on this page. The form has open ended questions and will take you approximately 1-2 hours to fill in. You can save the form to return to later.

If you experience any issues accessing or competing the application form, please contact service@ourcommunity.com.au with Fellowship Application in the subject line.


What are the key dates?

Applications for the 2022 program open on April 27 2022 and close on June 28 2022. No extensions are possible.

Fellowship offers will be made on July 18 and need to be accepted or declined by July 21.


What is the Fellowship selection process?

Applications will be assessed by an independent non-partisan panel, who will take into account the applicant’s ability to fulfil the following key selection criteria

  • Location of the applicant in one of the 30 target municipalities (we aim to have representation from all 30 municipalities)
  • Diversity of applicants (we aim to ensure the fellowship group reflects the diversity of the community in all its glory).
  • Motivation and interest in running for local government
  • Demonstrated community leadership experience and/or potential
  • Passion for and understanding of your local community

The recommended shortlist is subject to approval by Local Government Victoria.

Offering a fellow place is at the complete discretion of Local Government Victoria. There is no appeals process.


I have questions! Who can answer them?

Please email service@ourcommunity.com.au and put Fellowship in the subject line.

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