This year saw the largest number of rural and remote schools nominate young people to become part of the 2017 Rural Youth Ambassador program – a total of 40 young people were nominated by their schools.
After a lengthy selection process a total of 21 young people from all over the state of Victoria were provided with the opportunity to be involved in this exciting leadership and student agency initiative.
The Rural Youth Ambassador program is a key element within the “Rural Inspire” initiative which has been developed over the past three years providing a range of initiatives to ensure that rural and remote young people are provided with the opportunities they need and desire to assist them in realising their dreams.
These young people came together for an Orientation Forum during April where they had the opportunity to meet a number of people from Education Unions, Aboriginal Education groups and Education Sector representatives.
A key element of the Orientation Forum was to provide the Rural Youth Ambassadors the opportunity to be involved in a series of discussions, and to also identify the key areas they believe impact on them in relation to their education. They highlighted a number of key areas including:
- limited access to education opportunities due to their location and size;
- the difficulty of having high quality educators within their communities – challenge of recruiting teachers, and then keeping them;
- the lack of opportunities that young people have access to as a result of where they live;
- the growing concern of rural young peoples mental health and well being.
Interestingly, these four key areas highlighted have also reflected the key issues identified by previous Rural Youth Ambassadors.
Following a number of discussions, the Rural Youth Ambassadors have identified the key area of “Teacher Recruitment, Growth and Retention” as the key area they would like to work on over the following twelve months.
They will be meeting with key people and organisations, talking to Government Ministers, and discussing these areas with key education personnel over the coming months to see if they can make a real difference in supporting rural and remote communities being able to access and keep great teachers.
For more information on the Rural Youth Ambassadors click on the link: Rural Youth Ambassadors.