Rural Youth Aspirations
Fostering youth aspirations within our rural and remote communities is a critical area of work for CEP, ensuring all students ‘learn aspiration’ and become aware of opportunities.
At CEP we know the best way to raise student expectations and aspirations is to raise awareness of the opportunities they have — whether that’s career options, future education options or employment opportunities.
In recognition of this, CEP, in partnership with rural and remote young people have developed an exciting national initiative that has been recognised at both a state and national level. Known as Rural Inspire, the initiative aims to provide a range of activities and services aimed at increasing the aspirations of rural and remote young people through expanding the opportunities they have provided within their communities.
One of our Rural Youth Ambassadors speaking at the Education State Conference in 2017.
Rural Youth Ambassadors
A key initiative of the Country Education Partnerships work is the Rural Youth Ambassador program.
CEP initiated the RYA program in Victoria in 2011 as a key strategy to develop the leadership skills of rural and remote young people, while also providing a formal state-wide voice for country students on issues affecting their education.
A group of thirteen young people were announced as the inaugural members in 2011, with the Honorable Peter Hall — the Minister for Higher Education and Skills at the time.
In 2019, the Rural Youth Ambassador program was identified as best practice within the Review of Education in Regional, Rural and Remote Education in Australia and as a result, the Commonwealth Government has supported the expansion of the program into other states and territories across Australia.
The program assists rural and remote young people by:
- Providing a greater voice and visibility for young people in rural and remote communities.
- Increasing youth participation in Education and Youth Public Policy.
- Increasing public and political awareness of the unique challenges and opportunities impacting the learning opportunities and outcomes of young people.
- Identifying and showcasing examples of young people thriving in rural communities.
- Strengthening existing initiatives to support the learning needs of rural young people.
- Promoting greater participation of young people in local rural community organisations.
- Increasing leadership skills and knowledge of rural young people.
- Delivering specific Community-Based projects that will enhance the Mental Health and Wellbeing of young people in that area.
Over the years the RYA program in Victoria has been delivered to over 200 young people across rural and remote areas of the state.
The program has also recently expanded to include a more localised version of the program (Local Rural Youth Ambassadors).
The Local Rural Youth Ambassador Program is an approach that offers opportunities for support for young people in the areas of youth aspirations, leadership and successful pathways.
- The events are either a part-day or full-day face-to-face forum.
- Any year level can be involved, either as LRYA or as a participant.
- CEP staff work in partnership with school staff to facilitate the planning group.
- CEP cover all costs relating to the program.
- Local success stories are invited to be part of the process and to share their journeys and experiences with the LRYA members.
CEP receives DE funding to implement the program. Typically a group of 10-20 LRYA, from a minimum of two schools, meet 2 or 3 times (online or in person) to coordinate an event at the local level. The events are face-to-face and have a focus on youth aspirations and pathways.
In addition, we will announce the learnings gained by rural and remote young people at a later stage.