Rural Youth Ambassadors
The Rural Youth Ambassador (RYA) program brings together passionate and diverse rural young people, to develop their leadership skills, grow knowledge and establish a representative voice for all rural young people.
The program runs annually, within each state and territory of Australia. Each year, a new Ambassador cohort is created in each state, consisting of young people from across the country who attend rural schools. Generally, Year 11 pupils are nominated by their schools to participate in the program, which lasts 12 months.
Each group works collaboratively, establishing a theme or focus for the year that is based on their experiences of growing up in a rural area, which they then pitch to government, education sectors and key stakeholder groups.
As the Rural Youth Ambassadors work together and build their leadership skills, they also support their community of peers back home by sharing knowledge, creating workshops and programs, and linking successful rural people back to their communities.
The Ambassadors are involved in state and national conferences, are keynote presenters at workshops and conferences, attend international conferences about rural education, advise state and commonwealth governments, run workshops, visit rural and remote communities and share their stories – the list is endless.
The program culminates with a National Forum held in Canberra during December of each year with each state nominating representatives to attend the forum and meet with Commonwealth Ministers, senior education people and other interested organisations.
The Rural Youth Ambassadors then develop a proposal at a national level, representing the interests of rural and remote young Australians, making sure everyone can achieve their dreams.
“I have left with a network of friends that I am positive I will keep in touch with, and this program has offered me the social skills and city experiences that I needed to expand myself beyond my home town and school. It’s inspirational and uplifting to have been surrounded by people who have the same passions and incentives as me in life, and be involved in discussions I would not have been able to have in my classroom back at home.”
“The Rural Youth Ambassador program has ultimately been a life changer. I have realised so many things about myself that I don’t think I would have without it. I have developed so much confidence and have grown as a person. It’s about finding what you love and I can’t wait to see what my future life brings me”