Rural Youth Ambassadors Program

06th Sep 2022

Guyra Central School student, Dante Lloyd (Year 11) is among the 20 young people from rural and remote communities participating in the 2022 Rural Youth Ambassadors Program. The Country Education Partnership (CEP) established and launched the program at the Country Education Partnerships 2011 Rural Learning Summit in Victoria. In 2020, inaugural Rural Youth Ambassador Programs began being delivered in New South Wales partnering with the education sector, rural communities, and governments to provide opportunity for young people within rural and remote communities the opportunity to develop their leadership skills and capacity. The program aims to enhance and improve the lives, learning opportunities and outcomes of participants – thus promoting “youth agency”.
 The Program involves four face-to-face forums which take place in Sydney over the course of the year. Throughout these forums, the Rural Youth Ambassadors will undertake a range of leadership development activities, conversations focused on rural and remote life and learning, participate in presentations to senior education sector people, meet with the Minister for Education, meet with philanthropy organisations and key stakeholder groups, as well as present at education workshops, forums and conferences.
 Dante spoke about his experience so far and on becoming involved in The Rural Youth Ambassador program –
 “I was very excited to be accepted into the program and I have now attended three forums. From the forums I was able to gain a understanding that I have the opportunity to inspire real change at a potentially national level. I hope to achieve real productive change leading into the last two forums that are upcoming in the next term.
 “At the start it was very intimidating traveling down to Sydney on my own to meet a bunch of strangers I had never met before. But once I arrived everyone had a sense of comradely despite only knowing each other for a few hours. Everyone was very kind and supportive, it was a great environment to speak my personal opinions and what I thought needed to change.
“The Rural Youth Ambassadors program is about inspiring change but also developing the members in their communication skills. Recently I went to the second NSW forum where we spoke to many members of the Department of Education from their Rural and Regional team, their mental health and wellbeing team and a couple of others.
We presented our ideas and most of the people we have presented to have been very supportive of our ideas and concepts. During this second forum, we also started working on one of our projects. The project is to create a promotional video for each member’s hometown to try and attract University students to undertake practicums in rural communities. This project is ongoing. I have started to do some filming of Guyra and I plan on conducting interviews for it very soon. 
“The completion of the promotional videos should be within the next two weeks and hopefully published shortly afterwards. With our other concepts I will most likely be talking to MPs or Department of Education representatives to advocate for our projects. Next term there will be an NSW forum and a National Forum where all the members across the Country will meet in Canberra.”