Applications and Selection Process

Q: Is prior board experience necessary?

A: No prior board experience is required to apply to the Program. An experienced board director is less likely to benefit from the Program as much as someone without board experience. Presenting to a board as part of an existing job isn’t the same as sitting on a board.

Q: What is the role of the NFP in the selection process?

A: On signing up as a Participating Board:

  • the organisation will be asked to provide preferences for the profile, skills and experience they look for in an Observer. If a Board either does not specify or does not have any preferences, organisations will be offered the most suitable candidate.
  • NFPs receive 2-4 candidate CVs to review and rank.
  • NFPs interview at least 2 of the proposed candidates, with interviews organised by The Observership Program.
  • NFPs provide post-interview feedback to The Observership Program which informs the final matching.
  • NFPs are invited to attend the Program launch to meet The Observership Program community.

Q: What are we looking for in an Observer?

A: We are looking for talented, highly motivated, established professionals from a diversity of backgrounds, with strong credentials and most importantly with a passion for the NFP sector and a willingness to contribute. EQ is as important as intelligence and experience, as is an ability to conduct yourself appropriately and contribute to board discussions when invited to,  in keeping with the culture of your board.

Q: What can I expect from the Program if I am placed as an Observer?

A: Observers can expect:

  • High level training for not-for-profit directors delivered by AICD and The Ethics Centre;
  • A year long program to build your experience and confidence in serving on a not-for-profit board;
  • Access to experienced Board directors from both the not-for-profit and corporate sectors;
  • Possible involvement in a strategic project or board subcommittee;
  • Networking opportunities with fellow and former participants in the Program. The Observership Program will connect you with the previous year’s Observer on your organisation’s board; and
  • A rewarding professional development experience that facilitates your contribution to society in a meaningful way.

Candidate Categories

Q: What is a Corporate Candidate?

A: A Corporate Candidate is an employee of one of the Program’s Corporate Partners who is nominated for the Program. For a list of Current Corporate partners please follow the link to the "Our Partners" page on this website.

Q: What is a General Stream Candidate?

A: General Stream candidates are those candidates who apply to the Program via the online application process. The Observership Program is open to everyone who meets the eligibility criteria. Applicants must be aged between 25 and 40 on the application closing date. Applicants must be a resident in the state in which the Program operates and be either an Australian citizen or permanent resident.

Further Information

Q: Who are the Program’s Strategic Partners?

A: Our valued partners play a consistent role in supporting and promoting the Program by providing important warm introductions to good governance boards and significant support and services to the Program.

They are the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD), The Ethics Centre, the JCA and Philanthropy Australia.

Q: Who are the Program’s Corporate Supporters?

A: We are grateful to all our corporate partners. They are ASX, Bain & Co, Boston Consulting Group, Macquarie Capital, McKinsey and Company, Microsoft, PWC, Qantas, Scentre Group, ShineWing, UBS, Vicinity Centres and PwC.

These organisations commit to putting their young leaders through the Program, providing high calibre candidates for selection as Observers.

The organisations also provide valuable support to the Program in other ways including the provision of venues for events and training sessions, as well as guest speakers and introductions to not-for-profit organisations.

Q: Where can I find further information about the Program?

A: The Program operates in NSW and VIC and runs on a calendar year. If you would like further information about participating in the Program please contact either:

  • Cathy Robinson for the Sydney Program:

[email protected]; or

  • Catherine Reiser for the Melbourne Program:

[email protected]

For all general inquiries, please contact Belinda Da Silva: [email protected].

Not For Profit Organisations

Q: Can my organisation participate in the Program?

A: We are always expanding the reach of the Program and welcome approaches from and introductions to suitable NFPs. Please contact Belinda Da Silva ([email protected]) at The Observership Program if you are interested in participating in the Program.