The Country Education Partnership (CEP) first initiated the Rural Youth Ambassador Program in 2011. It aims to support young people living in rural communities by developing their leadership skills and knowledge, while also exploring education challenges and opportunities.
Each year, a new Ambassador cohort is established, consisting of young people who are educated in rural Victorian communities. Generally, Year 11 pupils are nominated by their schools to participate in the program, which runs for a period of 12 months.
At the start of each year, the new Ambassador cohort works collaboratively to develop specific themes of relevance to rural education. These themes then provide the focus for their discussions and exploration for the year ahead, during which time they also undertake training to support their leadership capabilities.
The Rural Youth Ambassadors are involved in a range of facilitated workshops, visit organisations that support leadership development, engage with leaders across many industries, and consult with senior education and government personnel.
In 2014 the Ambassadors explored four key areas of action that they believed would enhance opportunities and outcomes in rural and remote learning.
schools working collaboratively to provide education;
the establishment of “Rural Inspire”;
supporting quality teachers to stay in rural and remote communities;
building partnerships between rural/remote education communities and urban centres.
And so began the journey of Rural Inspire.
It was developed with some fundamental appreciations. Including:
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 their schools and communities;
that rural students often do not have the same face-to-face access to career role models and mentors. The same can be said for teachers in rural/remote schools, where access to peer support, professional development and new ideas may be constrained;
that the Rural Youth Ambassadors acknowledge and assert that rural communities produce some of Victoria’s (and Australia’s) best industry leaders, despite the challenges they faced as rural young people;
AND that rural/remote communities are often more innovative in the way they find solutions to their challenges, compared to regional and metropolitan communities who often expect but do not create results.
Find out more about the rural youth amBassadors
The Rural Youth Ambassadors support young people in rural Victoria to develop leadership skills and knowledge, through exploring education challenges and opportunities.