Rural Inspire Evaluation EOIs – Now Open

by | Mar 16, 2020 | Bush Voices, News

The Country Education Partnership (CEP) is seeking expressions of interest from suitably qualified individuals, consortiums or organisations to partner with the CEP to undertake an evaluation of the Rural Inspire and Rural Youth Ambassador Program over 2020-­2022. The CEP welcomes creative proposals from diverse applicants and is open to discussing unique models, collaborations, fellowships or funding arrangements for conducting the evaluation.

What is Rural Inspire?

Rural Inspire is a grassroots and community-centric project that aims to provide a holistic approach to supporting rural students in secondary school through the transition to post-secondary education, training and employment. The program provides relevant information, support, and activities for rural young people looking to gain a greater understanding of higher education and career opportunities available to them. This is achieved through structured programs that raise aspirations and support transitions through the Australian education and training system.

These programs include:

  • Aspiration and leadership development workshops for students aged 15-18
  • A country and urban partnerships program to strengthen connections between rural and urban educational settings for secondary school students
  • A mentoring approach for upper-secondary students
  • A pathways support network to nurture aspirations and transitions beyond secondary school
  • The Rural Youth Ambassador Program, which provides relevant aspirational support for rural young people from fellow members of their communities who have already traversed an educational journey.

Scope and Scale:

The Rural Inspire program has been operating in Victoria for nine years, engaging over 150 Rural Youth Ambassador Alumni and thousands of students. The success of this program was highlighted in the Independent Review into Regional, Rural and Remote Education, which recommended funding be provided to expand Rural Inspire.

Announced as part of the 2019 election, the CEP received $2 million in funding to expand Rural Inspire over 2019–2022, starting with South Australia and New South Wales with the aim to expand further to other states and territories (aside from the ACT) by the end of 2022.

The CEP Philosophy

The CEP is a creative not-for-profit organisation that encourages unique and innovative approaches to improving educational outcomes for rural students and their communities. The partnerships and programs that the CEP develop are centred in a culture of creating meaningful relationships, empowerment, continuous improvement, co-creation and reflexivity. We encourage creativity from our partners in order to develop fresh approaches for supporting rural communities to obtain the best possible educational outcomes for their young people.

Objectives of the evaluation

The evaluation will investigate the approach, content, delivery, and impact of Rural Inspire on the aspirations of rural and remote young people and their future career pathways.

More specifically, the evaluation aims to:

  • Investigate the impact that Rural Inspire has had on nurturing and enhancing aspiration for post-secondary education.
  • Analyse how Rural Inspire has influenced student participation and engagement in secondary and post-secondary education, training and employment.
  • Evaluate the impact Rural Inspire has on shaping future career pathways of participants.
  • Explore the broader sociological implications of the program on rural communities’ perceptions towards secondary and higher education, training, and employment.
  • Investigate the broader impacts of Rural Inspire on the educational culture within the schools where the program has been implemented.
  • Provide actionable recommendations to enhance the future direction and outcomes of Rural Inspire as it is developed across Australia.
  • Provide sustainable future directions for the program beyond 2022.

Selection Criteria

The CEP welcomes creative proposals and is open to discussing innovative models and approaches for conducting the evaluation. In addition, the required skills and expertise are:

  • Demonstrated experience undertaking large-scale evaluations on a national level.
  • Demonstrated ability to successfully deliver a high quality quantitative and qualitative analyses required for a project of this nature.
  • Experience in efficiently and effectively delivering project outcomes within an agreed budget and timeframe.
  • High-level understanding of the challenges that rural communities, schools and institutions face.
  • Experience in student aspiration formation, rural sociology, widening participation and student equity.

Application Process

A two-stage application process has been established.

Stage One

Please provide an initial Expression of Interest (EOI) that highlights your skills, experience, and ability to meet the selection criteria and philosophy of the CEP. EOIs are due by Thursday 16th April 2020.

The assessment of EOIs will be conducted by CEP Staff, the Rural Inspire team, and the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment.

Stage Two

Based on the demonstrated strength of the EOI proposals, the CEP will then engage with selected applicants to pursue further discussions on the project and request a subsequent full proposal. Those not selected will be advised accordingly.

For more information, or to submit an EOI, please contact:

Chris Ronan

Project Manager

Country Education Partnership