Frequently Asked Questions

Why was the Program created and what is its purpose?

The STEM sector is crucial to driving innovation, leading to new and better products and services, economic growth, and higher living standards. However, female STEM professionals are underrepresented in decision making and leadership positions, accounting for just 16% of the Australian STEM workforce and only 3% of STEM companies are led by women as CEO. Yet it is well recognised that companies with diverse leadership teams and boards perform better. Diversity at senior levels leads to the generation of new ideas, fosters creative solutions, decreases risk, and enhances corporate governance and group decision making. The WILD Program is focused on increasing gender diversity at senior management and board levels within the STEM sector. It aims to tackle some of the systemic barriers that have limited women’s career progression by increasing access to leadership training and skills, increasing exposure to mentors and role models, providing access to networks, building confidence and developing tools to support cultural change.

Who is an ideal applicant for the WILD Program?

The WILD Program is designed to increase the number of STEM-qualified women serving on boards and in senior leadership positions. Ideal applicants are able to demonstrate how they are experiencing real barriers to career progression; they can articulate how their skills, experience and career trajectory will lead them to attaining a senior leadership and/or board position upon completion of the WILD Program; they demonstrate a clear alignment to the vision of the WILD Program and outline their aspirations for contributing to the STEM sector.

Do I need to be currently in a leadership or executive role to be eligible?

Applicants to the WILD Program do not need to be currently in a leadership or executive role, however they do need to demonstrate an aspiration to achieve a leadership or executive role in the short to medium term. Applicants also need to explain the barriers they are experiencing to career progression and articulate how the WILD Program will help them overcome those barriers.

Do I need to meet all eligibility requirements including the post-graduate qualification?

We prefer applicants have post-graduate qualifications as this advanced STEM training is highly regarded and supports better decision making in senior leadership and board positions. However, we recognise that it is possible to gain equivalent skills to post-graduate training through professional and work experience, and we therefore do offer some flexibility towards this requirement if equivalent experience can be demonstrated.

While difficult to define, equivalent experience might include several years of relevant work experience or certain skills or courses that have been obtained, and these will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. You will asked to demonstrate your relevant experience equivalent to postgraduate training within your field. 

Why are academic STEM professionals not eligible?

The vision of the WILD Program is to achieve gender equity in STEM leadership that will ultimately drive better decision making and improved business performance. The WILD Program is therefore targeted towards bringing STEM skills to senior leadership and board level positions within companies. We recognise that academia is a large part of the STEM sector and that gender disparity in pervasive in academia, however the WILD Program is built specifically around industry careers, is supported by businesses and other industry stakeholders and is therefore not designed to support career progression and participation in academic careers.

What are the time commitments associated with participating in the WILD Program?

We estimate the WILD Program requires a commitment of six weeks full-time spread over the course of the year. Most of this (3-4 weeks) is related to completing the AICD course, which requires significant pre-reading, five days of course delivery and post-course study and exams. Time should also be put aside for arranging and participating in the board observership, attending the two-day retreat (including travel) and attending masterclasses and other events.

What benefits do participants get from the WILD Program?

Participants receive access to a globally recognised training course covering areas such as governance, decision making, legal obligations, risk, strategy and finance; a leadership retreat covering skills such as executive presence, negotiation, and influence; a board placement to consolidate learnings in the real world and a series of masterclasses that complement the program. One of the most important benefits of the WILD Program is the networking between the cohort. Participants foster long-lasting relationships with one another, built off shared experiences and a motivation for attaining executive and board positions. WILD Alumni also get continued access to our Masterclasses and networking events.

Do you match me with a board for the observership experience? Or can I organise my own with a board of my choice?

We prefer that participants organise their own board observerships with a company that aligns to their specific goals and interests. However, we can also help match people with and facilitate board observerships with our partner companies if participants are unable to secure their own observership. 

Where and when is the WILD Program run, and how can I apply?

The WILD Program is a nationwide program run annually (commencing in January each year), accepting up to 25 women in STEM per year from all Australian states and territories. The Program is spread across twelve months combining digital and in person components, so successful applicants must be available to travel and commit to in person events and training. Applications can be made via our Application Portal

How is the WILD Program funded? Do I have to pay to participate? Are there any additional costs associated with participating in program?

The WILD Program is fully funded by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and is delivered through a partnership between WILD Women and Brandon BioCatalyst. The Program (valued at $20,000 per person) comes at no cost to the participant. There are, however, some minor costs participants are expected to cover to get the most out of the experience including travel costs and accommodation associated with attending the AICD Company Directors Course and travel costs associated with attending the Leadership Retreat. Please consider these costs before applying. Given the considerable benefits of participation to employers, it is common for employers to cover travel and other ancillary costs associated with the WILD Program.

How can I support the WILD Program as a partner, supporter or sponsor?

The WILD Program requires more than just participants, but allies in the industry who are committed to supporting diversity in STEM leadership.

As part of the Program, participants are exposed to company boards via board placements with active STEM companies. We require partners, particularly commercial companies operating in STEM, who would like to offer a board placement to women in the cohort. Companies will be paired with a WILD woman currently working in the relevant field (e.g., life sciences, engineering, technology).

Our vision is to see the WILD Program become a sustainable, nationally available program for years to come. That requires ongoing funding and support, so we are also seeking sponsors for the WILD Program post-2024.

Find out more about our partnership opportunities here and for further information, please contact us at