The establishment of Rural Inspire was developed in recognition that:
- rural students do not always have the breadth of information and opportunity to fully develop their aspirations – often due to the small size of schools and communities where students have difficulty in accessing the full range of opportunities and role models that provide them with experiences they would like to have. This can be a similar challenge for teachers in rural/remote schools where access to peer support, mentors/coaches, and new ideas may be constrained.
- despite the challenges that rural young people face, the Rural Youth Ambassadors acknowledge that rural communities produce some of Victoria’s, and Australia’s, best leaders, and that their communities are often more innovative compared to their regional and metropolitan counterparts in finding solutions to their challenges.
A concept developed by the 2014 Rural Youth Ambassadors as a key initiative to link the two areas outlined above under a state-wide approach to inspire rural/remote young people in realizing their dreams and broadening their aspirations, Rural Inspire facilitates a number of initiatives including:
- the reconnection of people who grew up in rural communities back to their rural community to inspire young people within these communities through guest presentation, workshops, mentoring, work experience opportunities and possibly employment opportunities;
- the development of a secure online “chat facility”, detailing the support that “ex rural people” would be prepared to offer these young people and their communities, provide a range of potential opportunities that are available for rural young people, etc.
- providing stories of people who grew up in rural and remote communities sharing their experiences and journey in attaining their studies or career pathway;
- the facilitation of workshops and forums for upper primary and junior secondary students within rural and remote communities to support them in realising their dreams and aspirations;
- Establishing a secure forum for teachers within rural and remote education communities to link with other teachers, and business people, in metropolitan and regional locations to enhance their skills and knowledge.
For more information click on: Rural Inspire
Rural Youth Ambassadors
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.
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 has implemented a number of initiatives, underneath the ‘Rural Inspire’ banner, aimed at lifting aspirations through inspiration. These initiatives include the esteemed Rural Youth Ambassador Program.
The Country Education Partnership (CEP) initiated the Rural Youth Ambassador program 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 to have their say 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 then Minister for Higher Education and Skills — unveiling the initiative at a program launch in Melbourne.
Aim: To support young people in rural Victoria in developing leadership skills and knowledge and explore education challenges and opportunities facing rural youth.
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
- Identify 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.
- 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;
- 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.
Rural 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
Rural 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
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.
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:
- Representing Australia at the Johor International Student Leadership Conference in Malaysia
- Rural Education Conference.
Developed by the Rural Youth Ambassadors in 2015, the Rural and Urban Partnerships initiative is designed for Years 5-8 students and their teachers, to foster a meaningful rural/metropolitan school partnership based on shared experiences.
The overall aim of the program is to help further broaden the educational opportunities students and teachers have and provide exposure to both rural or metropolitan education communities, thus enhancing the education opportunities and outcomes of those young people involved.
It is designed to give students and teachers the opportunity to experience, and be exposed to, both rural and metropolitan/major regional education lifestyles and cultures as well as provide a great way for students to have access to a broader range of learning experiences and programs facilitated through the partnership. The partnership will also provide the opportunity for teachers to form networks and relationships with other teachers across the partnership to share knowledge, skills and programs.
‘Rural and Urban Partnerships’ was initially designed to focus on Year 5-8 students and their teachers.
It is expected that these partnerships will provide students and teachers with a range of education opportunities and experiences, some of which could include:
- Students will be placed in a classroom according to age level
- Teachers will work together to provide an engaging education program for students
- Collaborate with staff and be an active staff member of the school
- Students will be provided with experiences in both the school and communities
The partnership will allow access to each other’s schools, and their communities, with the specific details of the partnership being negotiated within each partnership. A clear focus of this initiative is on students and teachers visiting their partner schools as well as developing ongoing communication through the use of technology and the like. Each partnership will have the freedom to determine what age level and teacher/s become involved. For example: a rural school may choose a selection of year 5 students and teachers who will partner with a metropolitan/major regional centre and visit them for a week or so, with the metropolitan/major regional school returning the visit on a similar basis. The schools may also develop links through technology to further enhance the partnership learning. It is hoped that the visit experiences will occur more then once within the partnership and continue throughout the year.
A small number of rural education communities have been supported to develop a partnership with a metropolitan/regional education community. Beginning in 2015/2016, the initial pilot project supported a number of potential partnerships to establish themselves. These included partnerships between:
1. Apollo Bay P-12 College, Bright P-12 College and Macleod College.
2. The Ovens Cluster of Schools and Port Melbourne Primary School.