The highly regarded Rural Youth Ambassador program has expanded its reach to include rural and remote young people in other states and territories.
The Commonwealth Government have provided significant support for the expansion of the program as a result of the recommendation made in the Independent Review of Regional, Rural and Remote Education.
The Country Education Partnership is working with key rural education stakeholder groups along with education sectors in other states to support the development and implementation of the program over the next three years.
A partnership formed with the South Australia Areas Schools Leaders Association, along with support from the South Australian Department for Education, has seen the inaugural South Australia Rural Youth Ambassador program begin late in Term I of 2020. Sixteen rural and remote young people from across the state have been accepted into the program.
The South Australian Rural Youth Ambassadors have already met in an Orientation Forum within the Rural Youth Ambassador Virtual Centre. Here they conversed with several key personnel from the Department for Education, as well as explored a range of issues they would like to unpack throughout 2020.
The group highlighted the great experiences and opportunities that they have gained from growing up, and being educated, within a rural community. However, there were a number of key issues they would like to explore to improve rural education in their time as a Youth Ambassador. These include:
- Increasing the learning opportunities they are provided with. As rural schools have fewer students, rural young people don’t get the same access to education programs their urban peers gain;
- Examining ways to increase the information and experiences provided to rural and remote young people about the opportunities that are available after finishing school;
- The difficulty in attracting and retaining great teachers to their communities;
- That distance learning is often lacklustre. It is often the only option that many remote young people have to undertake the learning they would like to do;
- The distance to get to other population centres is incredibly large.
Already the group has started to formulate some ideas they would like to consider in addressing the challenges they have identified. Encouraging schools within a geographic area to work together in providing learning, and increasing the information and experiences of the career pathway options that are available to young people, are two key areas they will explore in greater depth throughout the year.
New South Wales
In partnership with the Aurora College, and with the support of the New South Wales Department of Education, and the Catholic Education Office, The NSW Rural Youth Ambassador program will be established through country New South Wales in the coming weeks.
Discussion have already been held with a number of rural education settings who are very interested to involve young people from their communities within the program.
Other States and Territories
The Country Education Partnership will be working with key stakeholder groups in the remaining states and territories throughout the year to explore the establishment of further Rural Youth Ambassador programs beginning in 2021.
If people are interested in the Rural Youth Ambassador program, please contact the Country Education Partnerships – firstname.lastname@example.org