Applications now open for the ABC’s Trailblazers Program

Applications now open for the ABC’s Trailblazers Program

Sep 1, 2023

NSW youth worker, Carlee Heise is calling on young people aged 18 – 28, who have started social, educational, and economic development projects in their regional communities to apply for the ABC’s 2024 Trailblazers program.

Carlee, a participant of the 2023 Trailblazers program, is the driving force behind YAAS! (Young, Authentic and Social), an arts program for 12–24-year-olds with diverse abilities and identities living on Darkinjung Country on the Central Coast.

“Being selected as a 2023 Trailblazer has opened up so many doors and given me opportunities to experience things I never would have imagined I would be doing in my 20s.

“The support I’ve received from the ABC Trailblazers program has helped me to see what strength I already possess and use this to make change in my region.”

Hayden McDonald is a 2023 Trailblazer living on Kepa Kurl Country, Esperance, WA. Growing up on the spectrum, Hayden felt like sometimes the world wasn’t built for him. So, he combined his twin passions of aviation and promoting real inclusion for people on the spectrum by starting Wings Without Barriers.

This month Hayden will solo circumnavigate regional Australia in a light aircraft stopping to present to schools along the way to show other young people that the sky’s the limit.

“The ABC’s Trailblazers program has helped me grow Wings Without Barriers and grow as a person. It has created huge opportunities for my project and helped me connect with movers and shakers in the aviation sector.”

The Hon. Catherine King MP, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, and Local Government, passionately champions the involvement of young leaders in regional Australia.

“I’ve seen firsthand how the Trailblazers program empowers young people from rural and regional areas. It provides participants with opportunities to strengthen and inspire both themselves and their communities.

“Alumni from the Trailblazers program have gone on to achieve amazing things. I’d really encourage future leaders in the regions to get involved – you just don’t know where being a Trailblazer will take you, or what you’ll achieve.”

The Director of ABC News, Justin Stevens encourages young rural innovators to get involved in the 2024 Trailblazers program.

“Since Trailblazers launched in 2017, we have seen talented young leaders take part each year who are doing incredible work in their regional communities.

“I continue to be inspired by them and the impact they are having and look forward to seeing what great projects our young leaders are working on this year.

“The ABC is proud to bring back Trailblazers in 2024 and celebrate these talented changemakers on a national stage.”

Applications are now open for the ABC’s 2024 Trailblazers program, where the spotlight shines on the brightest new leaders making a difference in their communities. The program is an opportunity for these young entrepreneurs and changemakers to have their work celebrated nationally and to receive an incredible package of support.

Past Trailblazer projects have addressed a range of issues, such as strengthening Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, promoting the well-being of young minds, advancing sustainable farming, fostering inclusivity for individuals living with disabilities, boosting employment opportunities, ensuring quality educational access, and helping entrepreneurs in remote areas.

Applications close Wednesday 4 October 2023. To apply, visit