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Thursday, 27 February 2023

The winner of the Aware Super Scholarship for Emerging Leaders (2022-23) is a firefighter who has dedicated almost two decades to helping protect her community as a sworn officer of Fire and Rescue New South Wales.

Heather Sutton, an instructor for firefighting recruits at the Emergency Services Academy has been named this year’s winner of the prestigious national scholarship.

Recipients can use the scholarship to help fund a structured education program offered by a university or learning institute, a study tour or another learning endeavour or initiative that responds to the unique leadership interests of the applicant.

Ms Sutton said she wants to upskill in leadership to be a better mentor for her colleagues as well as fully equip herself as she moves into a new position. 

“As a station officer, I am expected to not just manage incidents, but we are expected to help develop our firefighters to be the best that they can be on the frontline,” she said.  

“I am confident in my incident management skills but want to bolster my leadership skills so I can not only teach and help the recruit program, but also mentor some of the new trainers as well.

“I had been looking at completing a Diploma in Leadership and Management at my dream university, Swinburne, but was prohibited by the cost. When I found out I had won this scholarship I did a happy dance in the shopping centre.”

Aware Super’s Chief Executive Officer, Deanne Stewart, said the scholarship underscored the importance of helping to cultivate emerging leaders in essential industries that formed the backbone of our society.

“Heather is a very well deserving recipient of the scholarship; I can’t think of a better way for this grant to be used than to help her lead the new recruits on Fire and Rescue teams,” Ms Stewart said.

“We’re so proud to offer this opportunity to help those who give so much to communities right across Australia, to further their own education and impact in their chosen field. 

“This initiative is a significant way of highlighting the importance of continuing personal and professional development. It reinforces the importance of lifelong learning as a key element helping our members manage their careers and ultimately setting themselves up for their best possible retirement ” 

Each year, the Emerging Leader’s Scholarship is awarded to one Aware Super or VicSuper member. It must be used to fund a structured education program offered by an Australian university or learning institute, a study tour or another learning initiative that responds to the unique leadership interests of the applicant.

For media enquiries, contact:

Grant Smith, Head of External Affairs

t: 0421559610


Lilian Duncan, Cox Inall Change

t: 0414327582


Note to Editors

Previously known as First State Super, we changed our name to Aware Super in September 2020.

Aware Super is a name that reflects our members and what we stand for. It echoes the strengths of our past, aligning to our purpose to be a force for good in superannuation, retirement, and advice, driving better outcomes for our members, their families, and communities. 

Aware Super has been the fund for people who value community since 1992, and we’re now one of Australia’s largest funds and continuing to grow. We merged with VicSuper and WA Super in 2020 and now manage $150 billion in savings for more than 1 million members located across the country.

Our members work in roles that breathe life into their communities and they expect us to do the same. So, we invest in assets that we believe will make a positive difference today – improving our communities, building a more a sustainable economy and supporting employment both locally and globally at the same time as providing strong long-term returns.

Discover how we’re helping members do well financially while doing good in the world: Visit