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Australian Opal and para alpine assistant coach among WLIS grant recipients

08 December 2023

Fifty-four impressive women who work or volunteer in sport will receive funding from the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) to help them progress their careers.

Nat Burton looking to pass a basketball past an opponent
Australian Opal now Perth Lynx assistant coach Nat Burton is among the latest individual grant recipients in the Women Leaders in Sport (WLIS) program.

Supported by the Australian Government, the Women Leaders in Sport (WLIS) program is continuing to help shape the future of Australian sport, having provided leadership development opportunities for women on and off the field for more than 21 years.

Australian Opal now Perth Lynx assistant coach Nat Burton is among the latest individual grant recipients who will share in more than $234,000 to attend courses or training programs in areas such as leadership, governance and career coaching.

She will use her grant to complete a Certificate IV in Elite Athlete Wellbeing Management.

“I know that the skills I have learnt as an elite athlete are transferable but there is so much more I can learn about leading and supporting athletes and high-performing teams,” Burton said.

“This course can provide me with the knowledge, tools and skills to help me support the very athletes and coaches I now work with. Furthermore, it can enable and empower me to have conversations and consult with decision makers and boards of sporting organisations, which is one of my career goals, to start to create change from the top down,” she added.

Amelia Hodgson standing in the snow in front of a mountain range with arms outstretched
Assistant coach of the para alpine team Amelia Hodgson will study a leadership course through the Australian Institute of Management.

Amelia Hodgson spent four years as a sighted guide for para alpine skier Patrick Jensen with the pair recording three top 10 finishes at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games.

She is now assistant coach of the para alpine team and will study a leadership course through the Australian Institute of Management.

“I am very grateful to receive this grant from the ASC to further my leadership development,” she said. “I hope by taking this course I will be able to coach my athletes more effectively and facilitate their success.”

Minister for Sport The Hon Anika Wells said the program had helped more than 27,000 women change Australia’s sporting eco-system.

“We need more women making decisions for more women. Sport is unfortunately still not equal in regards to gender and we must provide greater support to allow women to thrive on and off the field which is why the Australian Government backs programs like WLIS,” Minister Wells said.

“This initiative also helps organisations create fairer and more inclusive sporting environments that reflect the world that we live in.”

Softball, volleyball, paddle and athletics are among those organisations to receive a WLIS organisation grant and will share $170,000 in funding for projects that address systematic and cultural barriers for women leaders in sport.

Water Polo is developing an online platform dedicated to addressing female health challenges that young women face in water sports, contributing to a drop off in participation. By supporting women as participants, the environment to develop young leaders will also be accelerated.

Basketball Australia will use their funding to partner with Helping Hoops to create opportunities for 40 young women from culturally and socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds to become accredited coaches and officials.

Sport Inclusion Australia’s project will help administrators and athletes with an intellectual impairment learn life skills and grow their confidence.

“Sport Inclusion Australia is committed to improve access to sport for girls and woman and to leverage the power of sport to deliver social inclusion,” CEO Robyn Smith OAM said.

“We believe that through growing the capacity and capability of the sport industry on inclusive practices, more organisations can foster safe and inclusive cultures to welcome and include women with an intellectual impairment in clubs, workplaces, and community.”

ASC CEO Kieren Perkins OAM said he was proud of the program which strives to achieve gender equality in sport.

“Providing safe, welcoming and inclusive sporting environments is at the heart of Australia’s first co-designed Sport Participation Strategy released last month as we aim to ensure that everyone has a place in sport.”

“Through this grant program we will continue to champion equal representation in sport and I’d like to thank the Australian Government for supporting this powerful initiative that is helping close the gender gap in sport.”

WLIS is managed by the ASC with support from the Office for Women and funded through the Australian Government’s Women’s Leadership and Development Program.

A list of 2024 WLIS individual and organisation grant recipients is available on the ASC website.

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