Scholarships for volunteers

Every year, over six million volunteers across Australia selflessly give up their time to help their communities. In recognition of the complex services they deliver, the Australian Government has established a million-dollar scholarship fund to develop the high-level skills and leadership required in emergency situations.

Eligible volunteers can receive financial support to access accredited vocational and higher education qualifications in emergency and disaster management fields. Up to $12,000 in funding is available for vocational education and training, and up to $25,000 for higher education.

Explore vocational/higher education in the emergency management sector on the Knowledge Hub

Key dates

Application round Applications open Applications close Outcome advised

Round One [CLOSED]

Round Two

Round Three

Round Four

1 Jun 2017

4 Sep 2017

2 Apr 2018

3 Sep 2018

14 Jul 2017

16 Oct 2017

14 May 2018

15 Oct 2018

25 Aug 2017

27 Nov 2017

25 Jun 2018

26 Nov 2018

Applying for a scholarship

To apply, you need to register and use the online application portal. Please note that you only need to register and create an account if you are starting a new application. If you are re-submitting a previously unsuccessful application, you can request to move your profile so you can edit your existing application using your username and password.


Required documentation

In completing your application we require you to upload two references, and both need to be connected to the agency with whom you volunteer. You will need to upload two separate documents: an agency endorsement letter, and a reference. 

Agency endorsement letter

The endorsement letter can be very brief but it is one of the most important parts of the application. It demonstrates that you have whole-of-agency support for your application. Although it might be different in each organisation, usually the national or state office, usually the chief executive officer (or equivalent) should endorse you. The example Word template shows that a nominated delegate is acceptable (for example, the person given responsibility to act on behalf of the agency in this matter).

Please ensure your agency endorsement letter is signed by the officer and carries the organisation letterhead.

Download template for agency endorsement letter


The reference need only be a short (one-page) letter that shows someone of seniority who knows you is willing to offer support. It should demonstrate your commitment to ongoing participation in an emergency or disaster management volunteer role. Ideally, it is someone who has known you as a manager and can offer their support. It is helpful if they confirm your role and period of service, any previous role training, and why the training or education might be of service to the agency, and the town/location of the role.

Units of Competency

If you are planning to study an Advanced Diploma or Diploma of Public Safety (Emergency Management), you do not need to list the individual Units of Competency. However, you must provide a start and an end date for your studies. Applicants for higher education courses and individual courses or Units of Competency must still list, where possible, each unit and its date. 


Eligible studies

Applications for courses and/or units of study are encouraged for emergency and disaster management. As a guide, some applicable emergency and disaster management courses and units of study currently advertised by providers are listed below.

Study mode options are stated as internal or external. Internal courses/units are taught face-to-face, usually at the provider's premises, but also off-site. External courses/units includes other modes of delivery such as online and distance education.

This list does not represent all providers or courses that may be eligible for funding, nor does listing imply AIDR's endorsement of the quality of any program over another.

The list is based on the current web-based information provided by education providers; some detail may be omitted or inaccurate. It is essential that you confirm the details with the education provider when preparing an application.


Questions regarding the scholarship program can be directed to:

Dr Marc Bellette
Volunteer Programs Manager