An Inspired Path from ‘School to Next’ — Rural Ambassadors

by | Jun 6, 2019 | Bush Voices

Rural Youth Ambassadors Map ‘School to Next’.

The 2019 Rural Youth Ambassadors have met once again, this time devising a plan of action for the future course of CEP’s Rural Inspire platform.

The cohort met in Melbourne last week and enjoyed their busiest forum yet, brainstorming how best to implement Rural Inspire’s new resource hub, to be known as School to Next.

When complete, School to Next will offer targeted support for country students transitioning from secondary education to tertiary studies, tafe and the workforce.

ABC Heywire Executive Producer Dan Hirst led the Ambassadors in their morning ‘Concepts Workshop’, together with representatives from the Rural Youth Ambassador Alumni. 

Mr Hirst challenged the group to present their ideas as an authentic funding pitch, and says he was genuinely impressed by their commitment to the task.

“We challenged the Ambassadors to imagine a future that they’d want to see and then to plot a path to get there,” he said.

“It was a massive ask, and very broad for their interpretation, but they didn’t miss a beat. 

“What truly impressed me was their devotion to their communities, and their real desire to ensure their peers have a bright future growing up in rural Australia.”


During the workshop, the Ambassadors presented and debated the ‘exceptional circumstances’ faced by rural and remote students when finishing formal education.

Isolation, distance and cost were named as the three core issues, closely followed by ‘generally reduced’ resources, knowledge and aspirations in country communities. 

Working in small groups, the ambassadors analysed their own experiences of career counselling and hypothesised ‘what it really takes’ to prepare for life after school.

“They were really focused about this,” Mr Hirst said.

“They had strong concerns and ideas about what’s truly needed to help rural students transitioning into work or further study,” he said.

“At ABC Heywire, we consistently see this as a huge challenge; ensuring young people have the skills and confidence to boldly take their next step after school, which is a pretty monumental life change. 

“The Ambassadors generated ideas that were inspired, but also very practical.”

Among those ideas were:

  • An ‘Adulting’ App, including information on things like tax, banking, voting and personal loans
  • Mandatory Life Skills Workshops in schools
  • Improved access to VCE exam lectures through rural tours
  • Improved access to University Open Days, involving RYA Alumni
  • University Tours offering workshops in rural schools (“they come to us for a change”)
  • Improved career counselling before Year 11 to maximise subject selection for university and employability 

2019 Rural Youth Ambassadors 

Andrea Axford — Korumburra Secondary College

Molly Kent — Mary MacKillop College, Leongatha

Jade Bennier — Murrayville College

Drew Madden — Nathalia Secondary College

Meg Boag — Mansfield Secondary College

Teagan Mitchell — Cobram Secondary College

Caitlin Britten — Maryborough Education Centre

Pippa Munn — Kaniva College

Daniel Exton — Yea Secondary College

Sarah Primerano — Marian College, Myrtleford

Arnika Filippi — Bright College

Emily Shanahan — Timboon College

Toby Fleming — Mercy Regional College, Camperdown

Isabelle Sheperd — Tyrrell College, Sea Lake

Tom George — Donald High School

Brad Skidmore — St Marys of the Angels, Nathalia

Zoe Grayson — Bright College

Oliver Wright — Mercy Regional College, Camperdown

Angel Haigh — Manangatang P-12

Jessica Hughes — Goroke College