Supporting, retaining and progressing women in high performance coaching and executive roles is the aim of the 2022 Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Talent Program.

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Supporting, retaining and progressing women in high performance coaching and executive roles is the aim of the 2022 Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Talent Program, launched by the Australian Government today.

Applications are open from now until February 14 for this year’s AIS Talent Program, which is among a suite of Australian Government-funded programs designed to increase the presence and influence of women leaders in sport.

Minister for Sport Richard Colbeck said the AIS Talent Program is about identifying talented and accomplished women leaders and ensuring they have every opportunity to maximise their full potential and be key decision-makers in Australian sport.

Minister Colbeck said:

“This is an intensive and targeted program of eight months, it will be open to as many as 36 women and will leverage the strengths and skills they already have so they can advance their careers. It’s designed to be a transformational experience for the individual participants, but also to empower them to be role models and leaders for positive change across Australian sport.”

The AIS Talent program is supported by funding from the Australian Government’s Office for Women, in conjunction with the AIS and Sport Australia. The $3.4 million in funding over four years also supports the long-running Women Leaders in Sport grants program and the AIS Accelerate program, which focuses on elite women athletes pursuing ongoing careers in the sporting industry.

Minister Colbeck said the Australian Government is committed to supporting the growth and progress of girls and women in sport at all levels, from playing arenas to boardrooms.

“We are investing in sporting infrastructure and international events to inspire participation, like the FIBA Women’s World Cup of Basketball and the FIFA Women’s World Cup of Football over the next two years.

“The AIS Talent Program in 2022 will be directly focused on addressing an under-representation of women in high performance coaching and executive roles so Australian sport benefits from greater diversity and depth.”

Two-time Olympic hockey gold medallist Katrina Powell was part of the inaugural AIS Talent Program in 2020 and credits it as a turning point in her coaching career. A year after completing the program she was appointed as the first female coach of the Hockeyroos in 43 years.

Powell said:

“The AIS Talent program was so empowering, it shifted my mind-set. The Hockeyroos program has always meant so much to me, but I went from hoping or believing I could one day be national coach, to knowing I could do the job.

“It was a turning point. I’d been head coach of the NSW Institute of Sport hockey program for five years and had been looking for that next challenge, but was unsure what that would be or how to extend myself. Doing the AIS Talent Program, along with a peer group of coaches from other sports that I’m still in touch with today, helped me solidify my goals and then plan how I’d get there.”

AIS Acting CEO Matti Clements encouraged sport executive and high performance women coaches to apply.

“We need to continue breaking down gender barriers in sport and this program makes a genuine difference, providing participants with the opportunity to build leadership presence, professional networks and peer support.”

You can find more information about the program on the AIS website here.