The Clean Energy Council has opened applications for the fourth annual Women in Renewables Scholarship, a program which aims to strengthen gender diversity at the leadership level across the industry.

Clean Energy Council chief executive Kane Thornton said the scholarships offer talented women in the industry the opportunity to complete the Foundations of Directorship course from the Australian Institute of Company Directors, along with the opportunity to be paired with a leading industry mentor.

“It’s no secret that diverse organisations see better returns, and there is ample evidence that gender diversity at the board level creates stronger governance,” Thornton said.

“The scholarship program is designed to build a more diverse group of experienced company directors over the long term, through providing female leaders with access to a wealth of information and support. We believe the relationships they can develop through this program will give them the skills and professional confidence needed for continued growth and success.”

Last year’s scholarship was awarded to Vanessa Ratard, a remote area specialist working at Ekistica to develop renewable energy projects. Ratard said the scholarship had helped to open new doors and broaden the range of opportunities available to her.

“It can be tough working in outback regions to stay in touch with what’s happening in the capital cities, and I’ve been grateful for the support and the networks provided by the scholarship I was awarded by the Clean Energy Council in 2017.

“It has been a great honour and an opportunity to learn new skills and meet some really inspiring professionals across the industry,” Ratard said.

Thornton said the inspiration for the program came in 2015, when there was only a single female applicant for multiple positions on the Clean Energy Council Board, compared to nine male nominees.

“Our response to this was the Women in Renewables initiative, and it’s a true pleasure to see it grow and inspire all professionals working in renewables to work towards our shared vision of achieving gender balance across all levels of the industry,” Thornton said.

The Foundations of Directorship course is delivered over three full days and is available in most capital cities. The successful applicant will also receive a one-year membership to the Australian Institute of Company Directors, mentoring by a Clean Energy Council Director and the opportunity to make a presentation to the Clean Energy Council Board.

The AICD scholarship is open to nominees from Clean Energy Council member companies. For further details and to submit an application visit the website. Applications close 11.59pm AEDT, 14 October 2018, with successful applicant announcements made on 30 November 2018.