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.

Education State Forum

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.

Program Feedback

“Praneel has come home to us every single time overjoyed with the experiences he has had with the RYA program. Not only that, he can’t speak any more highly than he already does of you, alongside with Mark, Shane, Amelie and Annette.

Praneel is so much more outgoing than he was to begin with, and he is so much more conformable meeting new people and working with them.

We would definitely recommend the program to any family who would be interested, and can not flaw the program whatsoever.”

Program Feedback

“My son Liam has thoroughly enjoyed this experience.

It has brought him out of his shell and given him newfound confidence.

 As Liam is going to go to uni, this has also assisted him emotionally, being away from home. He is stronger than ever before and is exceptionally excited about his bright future.

I can’t thank you enough for the care and opportunity my son has had attending this leadership experience.

Liam has made new friends also and can’t speak high enough about you and others.”

RYA 2023