Future Leaders Program

Future Leaders is Australia’s first holistic leadership capacity-building program for autistic adults. First delivered by Autism CRC in 2018, the program is designed by, and for autistic people, creating a community of peers who learn from, empower and encourage one another to pursue their goals and positively impact their communities. 

The Future Leaders have the opportunity to develop their leadership skills through a series of training and development initiatives including:

  • online training modules
  • a residential workshop
  • a volunteer placement
  • mentoring from established autistic leaders

In 2019 the program will be delivered by Autism CRC's Sylvia Rodger Academy and Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect).

How to become a Future Leader

If you are, or know of, an emerging autistic leader who would like to be involved in our 2019 program, please complete our Expression of Interest Form. Completing this form means you will be kept up-to-date as more information is released about this year’s program (such as when applications will open, eligibility criteria and the application form). 

Please note that expressing interest does not mean you have applied to be part of the program, you will still need to complete an application to be considered for the 2019 intake.

Register your interest

Jac’s story 


“Future Leaders was my introduction to the world of advocacy and the opportunities that exist for autistic adults to be leaders and to have an influence.”

Future Leaders prompted Jac, a registered psychologist, to pursue a career in autism research. Since joining the program, Jac has completed a PhD through the Autism CRC and is now working as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Macquarie University. Jac has published a number of academic journal articles and spoken at a range of conferences.

Jac has also become established as an autistic advocate, and is a member of the Autism CRC’s Data Access Committee, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network of Australia and New Zealand (ASAN-AuNZ)’s executive committee, and Aspect’s LGBTQIA+ and Autism advisory committee.

Be part of a success story

For organisations who provide placements for Future Leaders, the program presents an opportunity to open up a new way of thinking about their business and helps to broaden accessibility and better engage with customers and employees. Placement organisations have the opportunity to discover and leverage the strengths of neurodiversity and to foster inclusive environments.

Are you interested in helping to empower emerging autistic leaders to build and develop skills to improve their communities? Organisations and businesses (small or large) can be part of a success story by providing an opportunity for a Future Leader to complete a 50-hour volunteer placement.

Find out more

Building on previous success

The first Future Leaders Program was a small pilot program that allowed 23 autistic adults, aged 18 to 30, to better engage with and participate in the 2013 Asia Pacific Autism Conference in Adelaide. It also included eight mentors who were autistic adults over 30 years of age.

In 2018 a newly revised and expanded Future Leaders program was developed and run by Autism CRC. The 2018 program included 14 autistic adults aged 25-40 from across Australia. The program was co-designed and developed by autistic adults, for autistic adults. Five of the eight project team members were established autistic leaders.

A three-day residential workshop was held in Brisbane and created an environment for people to share and learn from each other’s experiences. More formal sessions covered leadership-related topics such as community mindedness, identity, goal setting and media training.

Future Leaders also undertook volunteer placements to further develop and apply their leadership skills. Our 14 Future Leaders graduated from the program in November 2018.

Further reading


Olivia Gatfield
Senior Research Officer
Autism CRC

07 3377 0613
0411 094 346