Empowering autistic adults who want to make a positive difference in their communities to build and develop leadership skills

Applicant Information


Applications are now closed


To be eligible to apply for the 2022 Future Leaders: Building Communities Program you must:

  • identify as autistic;
  • be aged 18 or older (no upper age limit) on 1 February 2022;
  • live in Australia* as a citizen or permanent resident.
  • be willing and available to participate in all of the Program activities, and;
  • have an interest in
    • making a positive impact in your community
    • developing and shaping your idea into a a community-based project
    • being part of a community of emerging and established autistic leaders who learn from, encourage and support each other.

It is not important to have previous leadership experience in this Program.

Application and selection process

There are 3 parts to the application, which all need to be submitted by the closing date.

  • Part A is an online form that will ask you questions about who you are
  • Part B are a series of selection questions (you can answer these in writing, via PowerPoint or via video)
  • Part C is a series of questions about you, and a declaration that you have filled out the application yourself.

More information about the application process can be found in our Applicant Information Pack.

Applicants who progress to the second stage of the application process will be asked to have a structured, friendly chat with two of the Sylvia Rodger Academy team, one of whom is autistic, over Zoom. We will give you information about the chat in advance, including who you will meet and any questions that will be asked. Learn more about the structured chat in our FAQs.

Important things to know

  • Applications close at midnight on Sunday 27 February 2022
  • You will get an email within 3 business days confirming that we’ve received your application
  • After the closing date, all applications will be considered by a selection panel (which will be at least 50% autistic)
  • Applicants who progress to the second stage of the application process will be asked to have a structured chat with two members of the team
  • You will find out if you have been offered a place in the Program via email by 8 April 2022
  • We always receive many more applications than places available, so not everyone who applies will be offered a place. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Below you can find answers to some of the questions you may have about the Future Leaders: Community Projects Program. You can also read the Applicant Information Pack to see if the answer to your question is there.

If you have a question that isn’t answered in the FAQs below or in the Applicant Information Pack, please email Tammy at tmcgowan@autismcrc.com.au.

During the delivery of the 2022 Program, we will adhere to the guidelines and public health orders issued by the Federal and relevant State or Territory Governments regarding COVID-19, and will keep the selected Future Leaders updated on any changes to the Program delivery.

The residential workshop is a compulsory component of the Program. This will be held at a hotel, and many participants will need to fly interstate to attend. Participants will be required to meet travel and venue requirements regarding vaccination. Increasingly, this requirement is full vaccination or medical exemption.

On the application form, you will have the opportunity to voluntarily let us know if you are fully vaccinated, intend to be fully vaccinated by the time of the residential workshop, or have a medical exemption.

Your idea can be anything that you think will make a positive impact in your community. It could be a program, group or initiative. However, it needs to be a community-based idea. That means that it will change, benefit or develop a community, rather than aiming to change systems like education, employment or the justice system.

We acknowledge that change to systems are extremely important, and that community change can lead to systems changing. However, this year we are tailoring the Program to those who want to focus on community improvement and community projects.

You need to have an idea that can be turned into a community-based project, and need to explain why it is needed. You will also need to explain what community will be impacted by your idea, and your connection to that community. For more information, you can view the Applicant Information Pack.

In the past Future Leaders has been for many kinds of leaders, and we have a lot of alumni who are interested in systemic change. This means they are focusing on making a change to affect how a whole system works – for example, the education, employment or justice systems.

This year, we want to focus on people who have an idea or concept for change in their community, but need tailored content and support to make it happen. This doesn’t mean we won’t focus on other types of leaders in the future. To be kept informed of when other programs are offered, subscribe to our Keep Me Informed mailing list.

This year the Future Leaders Program involves turning your idea into a community-based project. A community-based project could be any program, group, or initiative that aims to improve your community.

Your community could be:

  • People who live in the same town, region or city as you
  • A group, which could be in-person or virtual (i.e. Facebook groups)
  • People with something in common (for example, autistic people, parents, artists)

Your idea could build onto or add to an existing community you’re a part of, or it could involve creating a new community.

Your project doesn't need to be fully completed or ready to launch by the end of the 50+ hours of upskilling and mentoring.

We are looking for autistic people who have an idea to make a positive impact in their communities and are motivated to explore and develop their skills to turn their idea into a community project. This means we aren’t looking for a set amount of leadership experience.

The selection questions will give you the opportunity to demonstrate your passion for your idea and motivation to make your idea happen.

No, you can’t submit an application on someone else’s behalf.

However, you are welcome to tell someone you think they should apply. You can also help them with their application if they want you to.

You are welcome to get a friend, support person or family member to help you complete your application.

Examples of ways people might help are by filming or interviewing you, or helping you to write your responses.

If someone helps you, it is important that you know about and agree with everything that is being said in your application.

No. Unfortunately, we are not able to offer our 2022 Program internationally.

This Program is focused on community-based projects, so you can apply if you have previously completed Future Leaders. The modules will be similar to those in previous years but you will still be expected to read these and attend the fortnightly online sessions for each of the 5 modules.

Yes, you are eligible to apply on the same basis as other applicants. This means your suitability for this program will be assessed using the information you provide in your application.

If you have any accessibility needs you’d like us to consider for your application or the structured chat, please email Tammy at tmcgowan@autismcrc.com.au and they will assist you. If you prefer to talk on the phone, you can ring her on 0411 094 346.

If your application is successful and you become a Program participant, we will work with you to understand your accessibility needs and preferences.

For the first time, the 2022 Future Leaders Program will involve a structured, friendly chat in the next stage of the application process.

The chat will involve you meeting Liv and Tammy (who are part of the autistic and autism communities) over Zoom to talk or type for approximately ten minutes. We will provide introduction videos of Liv and Tammy, as well as the questions we plan to ask you in advance. There will not be any ‘small talk’ during the chat unless you want to. You’re also welcome to have a support person present if you’d like, and you are welcome to pace or fidget during the chat as well.

The reason we are having a structured, friendly chat for this Program is that Zoom is used throughout the Future Leaders Program, so to be able to participate and engage in the learning opportunities provided, you will need to be comfortable using the software. It is also an opportunity for you to meet Liv and Tammy who are Project Officers for the program, so if you are successful you will already know two people that are delivering the Program.

The residential workshop will take place in July 2022 in an Australian capital city. We will pay for all travel and accommodation costs for participants.

No, this is not an employment program. It is also not linked to any specific leadership positions.

No, however on completion you will become a graduate of the Future Leaders Program and a member of the Sylvia Rodger Academy.

No. We consider attending the residential workshop to be an essential part of the Future Leaders experience.

Read through the information on the website, and the Applicant Information Pack. If you are still unsure, email Tammy at tmcgowan@autismcrc.com.au, or if you prefer to talk on the phone, ring her on 0411 094 346.

Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) is the major sponsor of Future Leaders. The Sylvia Rodger Academy is an initiative of Autism CRC, which receives funding from the Australian Government