Cape York Leaders Program - Cape York Partnership


A life changing opportunity


Since 2005, Cape York Leaders Program (CYLP) has empowered talented Indigenous leaders of all ages to reach their potential.

Focussing on Academic Leaders, CYLP awards Indigenous students throughout Cape York with scholarships to Queensland’s leading boarding high schools and highly acclaimed tertiary institutions.

During their studies, they benefit from a comprehensive support and skills-building program, including ongoing case management, tutors, extracurricular leadership activities and mentoring.

Every CYLP student graduates with the skills and confidence to lead and be a role model for their community.




Year 12 graduate rate


Leaders supported in 2023


Scholarships awarded since inception

Why it Matters

20 years ago, Cape York leaders drew a line in the sand. They were not prepared to stand by while their communities were ripped apart by spiralling dysfunction and passive welfare. They came together at a series of historic summits and agreed to take responsibility for the future of their communities. 

Cape York has very few secondary schools, with many families unable to send their children to boarding school or relocate. This means many teenagers' schooling stops at primary school, limiting their future career aspirations and creating a cycle of disadvantage.

CYLP was born to foster a new generation of leaders to tackle the challenges ahead.

Secondary Leaders

CYLP provides promising students with access to some of the best boarding schools throughout Queensland.

There are currently more than 190 students on an Academic Leaders – Secondary (ALS) scholarship. During school term, Leaders are encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities as well leadership roles within their school and community.

We teach our students how to walk in two worlds and be proud of their culture, yet rise to any new opportunity.

Our Student Support Officers provide our Leaders with holistic wrap-around support, identify employment/training opportunities and foster strong relationships with the student’s family.

Tertiary Leaders

CYLP supports Year 12 students from Cape York to transition to the workforce or continue on to tertiary education throughout Australia.

More than 15 students are currently on an Academic Leaders – Tertiary (ALT) scholarship. CYLP provide students with a fortnightly payment to ease the financial pressure of living away from home, so they can focus on their studies. We also provide ongoing support and mentorship to these Leaders, who in turn ‘give back’ to the program by mentoring our Academic Leaders – Secondary students at leadership camps, workshops and events.


More than 800 First Nations people have graduated from a Cape York Leaders Program. 

Our alumni can be found right throughout Australia working as doctors, lawyers, mayors, CEOS and other high-profile leadership positions. And, just as importantly, they can be found back in their home leading their communities in Cape York. Every graduate creates a ripple effect that benefits far more than just themselves. They inspire, lead, strengthen and build their families and communities.

When you graduate from Cape York Leaders Program you have the support of the program and your fellow alumni for life.

A leader’s first steps

Hear from Gauai Wallace and his family about what it means to be part of the Cape York Leaders Program


Partner Schools

The long-standing relationships with our Partner Schools is testament to both the quality of our program and the students themselves. You can find out more about these schools through our map.

Our Tertiary Leaders are encouraged to attend the university or colleges or their choice and can be found studying right throughout Australia.


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