Volunteer Leadership Program

Supports the local leadership capability of disaster resilience and emergency management volunteers amongst community organisations, not-for-profits, disaster relief organisations and local government.

Australia's capacity to respond to disasters relies on emergency management volunteers. Today's volunteer leaders must negotiate a maze of relationships, networks and expectations to lead effectively in the disaster environment. Leadership demands innovation, creativity, negotiation, improvisation and strategic vision.

The Volunteer Leadership Program (VLP) equips volunteers from community organisations, not-for-profits, disaster relief organisations and local government within the emergency management sector, with the skills and confidence to grow as leaders. The VLP experience is immersive and collaborative, bringing together volunteers from different organisations and agencies to build knowledge and share experiences with each other. The program explores practical leadership frameworks through interactive learning, and participants gain both self-awareness and an enhanced ability to understand and contribute to their organisations.


2024 Schedule

Applications are now open.
 Location Program dates Application due date 
Ingot Hotel, Perth, WA 12-14 April 2024 Closed
Holiday Inn Express, Adelaide City Centre, Adelaide, SA  19-21 April 2024 Closed
Darwin, NT 17-19 May 2024 Closed
Sunshine Coast, QLD 7-9 June 2024 Closed
Port Macquarie, NSW 26-28 July 2024 28 June 2024
Melbourne, VIC 16-18 August 2024 19 July 2024
Tasmania 20-22 September 2024 23 August 2024
Canberra, ACT 18-20 October 2024 23 September 2024

* Locations subject to change based on availability of suitable venue

* Program dates may change based on operational incidents across the sector. 


About the program

The Volunteer Leadership Program:

  • provides opportunities for volunteers from communities across Australia to network, learn and build their capability as leaders in disaster resilience
  • assists volunteers to build, support and grow networks in local communities to strengthen disaster resilience at a local level.
  • facilitates the connection of VLP participants to others through AIDR networks and volunteer opportunities.

The program explores leadership and management strategies in the context of volunteering, including:

  • leading change in an organisation
  • building and maintaining motivation
  • identifying and working with different personality types
  • resolving conflict, addressing performance issues and giving constructive critical feedback
  • stress and self-care strategies
  • contemporary issues facing the emergency management sector.

The Volunteer Leadership Program is delivered by experienced Australian Red Cross facilitators, on behalf of the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience.

Program Outline:

Please note, the program outline is subject to change.

4.00pm Arrival
4.30pm Registration
5.00pm - 7.00pm Workshop
7.00pm - 8.00pm Group dinner on site

8.30am Start
6pm - 7pm Dinner 
7 - 8pm Evening activity 

8.30am Start
1.00pm Lunch and close

Are you eligible?

To be considered for the VLP, applicants must:

  • be an active volunteer working within emergency management, recovery and disaster resilience in Australia
  • all organisation are welcome to apply including non-emergency management and non-AEMVF organisations
  • be 18 years of age or over on the day the course commences
  • be available to participate over the weekend (the program runs from 4:30pm Friday to 2:00pm Sunday)
  • have the support of their organisation to participate in the program
  • be prepared to undertake approximately two hours of pre-course work
  • submit an application by the closing date, answering all questions on the application form.

Successful applicants will be notified at least two weeks prior to the course commencing.


What is provided?

The Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience covers the course costs, including:

  • two nights’ twin-share accommodation (Friday and Saturday night)
  • full catering, including group dinners

Car parking may be provided based on availability.

Where available, participants may request a single room at an additional cost of $67 per night, payable either by themselves or their agency. The availability of a single rooms is not guaranteed. AIDR will invoice the cost of single rooms post-event.


What is not provided?

Participants must cover the following costs:

  • travel to/from the course location
  • any beverages consumed in the venue bar or from the in-room minibar
  • any on-demand movies viewed
  • any internet access where the venue does not provide it for free


 Applying for a VLP

To apply for the VLP:

  1. seek the endorsement of your agency manager to attend the program – the organisation endorsement form must be completed and submitted with your application
  2. complete the online application form, uploading the completed organisation endorsement form

AIDR will select participants in consultation with the Australian Emergency Management Volunteer Forum (AEMVF). If a VLP is oversubscribed, AIDR will seek to offer eligible applicants a place at a future program or place them on a waitlist for a place at short notice.

AIDR encourages applications from across Australia for any of the courses, although travel costs are typically the responsibility of the agency or individual.

AIDR will endeavour to accommodate any dietary request advised at the time of application; menus are typically available for vegetarian, low*fat and gluten*free diets.