Fostering rural youth aspirations is a critical area of work for CEP; to ensure that the youth within our rural and remote communities are able to be inspired, ‘learn aspiration’ and realise their dreams is at the very core of what CEP aspires to achieve. Over recent years, this has become an increasing element of our core work.

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Evidence suggests that the best way to raise student expectations and aspirations is to raise awareness of the opportunities they have- whether that be career options, future education opportunities or employment opportunities. As a result, CEP have put in place a number of initiatives, underneath the ‘Rural Inspire’ banner, including The Rural Youth Ambassadors.

The 2018 Rural Youth Ambassador nominations have now opened!

Rural and remote schools are encouraged to nominate Year 11 students to get involved. To nominate or for more information, hit the following links:



The Country Education Partnership (CEP) initiated the Rural Youth Ambassadors program in 2011 as a key strategy in developing the leadership skills of rural and remote young people as well as providing a formal state-wide voice for young people from across rural and remote Victoria with a focus on education provision.

The Honorable Peter Hall, the then Minister for Higher Education and Skills, launched the Rural Youth Ambassadors initiative. A group of thirteen young people were announced as the inaugural members of the Rural Youth Ambassadors initiative.

VCE Leadership AwardFinalists2015A further six Rural Youth Ambassador groups (involving in excess of 100 rural young people)have been supported by CEP over the past six years.

Aim: To support young people in rural Victoria in developing leadership skills and knowledge and explore education challenges and opportunities facing rural youth.

Expected Outcomes:

The initiative delivers on the following outcomes:

  • Provide a greater voice and visibility for young people in rural Victoria
  • Increase youth participation in education and youth public policy in rural Victoria
  • Increase public and political awareness of the unique challenges and opportunities impacting on the learning opportunities and outcomes of young people in rural Victoria
  • IMG_0519Identify and showcase examples of young Victorians thriving in rural communities
  • Strengthen existing initiatives to support the learning needs of young people in rural Victoria
  • Greater participation of young people in local rural community organisations. E.g. local community reference groups or boards.
  • Increased leadership skills and knowledge of rural young people.


The vRUral Youth Ambassadors 2015arious rural youth ambassadors have had a significant input into a range of discussions including:

  • Presentation to the Education State Consultations – Rural Youth Ambassadors Presentation to Education State Consultations 2015
  • The identification of key areas they believe would enhance and improve education within rural and remote Victoria and presenting these to the Minister for Education and also a range of organisations at a State and Regional level;
  • The development of Discussion Papers and video presentations of their deliberations and recommendations (See Below);
  • Contribution to the state governments inquiries into topics such as young people in agriculture, involvement of rural and remote young people in higher education;
  • Representation on the Rural Education Reference Group established by the Minister of Education;
  • Organisation of, and presentation to, the Rural Education Conference and annual Rural Learning Summit;
  • Representing Victoria, and Australia at International Student Leadership conferences and seminars;
  • IMG_6696 (1)Involvement in a range of presentations at a local community and regional level including service clubs and education forums.

In addition, the Rural Youth Ambassadors have also been involved in the establishment of a small number of initiatives aimed at addressing some of the challenges they have identified as part of their deliberations. For example:

  • Rural Inspire
  • Rural and Urban Partnerships.


The following is a brief snapshot of the deliberations undertaken by some of our ambassador cohorts.

Student Voice on Rural EducationRural Youth Ambassadors 2011:

In August 2011,  14 young people were involved in a range of discussions and forums over nine months with the focus of the discussion being:

“Retaining and Engaging Rural Young People in Education and Learning”

Hit the link: 2011 Rural Youth Ambassadors Final Report

P1000493Rural Youth Ambassadors 2012:

A second group was elected in June of 2012. The focus of this cohort was to celebrate the positive learning environment that rural communities can offer, and exploring how these environments can be further enhanced.

Hit the link: 2012 Rural Youth Ambassadors Presentation

IMG_0308Rural Youth Ambassadors 2013:

A third group was established in June 2013.

This cohort investigated ways rural schools could work together to enable greater teaching and learning access for rural students. They also theorised the development of  a website or app to provide detailed information on the range of leadership resources available for country kids. They also looked into ways to encourage organizations to step outside the box and take their programs to rural and remote locations (eg Quong Lee Dow, VCE lectures, etc), rather than consistently expecting young rural students to travel to them in Melbourne.

Their powerpoint presentation can be viewed at: Rural Youth Ambassadors Presentation March.

RYA 2014 #11Rural Youth Ambassadors 2014

A fourth group of Rural Youth Ambassadors were nominated in 2014.

A report of their discussions and suggestions can be read here:  Rural Youth Ambassadors 2014/15.

And a video of their presentation can be viewed here:  2014/15 Rural Youth Ambassadors Video Presentation

Their powerpoint presentation can be viewed by clicking: Rural Youth Ambassadors Presentation to Education State Consultations 2014/15

In addition to their involvement within their forums and discussion groups, the 2014 Rural Youth Ambassadors had the opportunity to be involved in the Rural Education Conference and the International Student Leadership Conference in Malaysia. See their reports below: