Better access to subjects and career paths in the bush is high on the agenda for rural students in a new leadership development program.
The NSW Government has announced the NSW Rural Youth Ambassador 2020 pilot program where 28 year 11 students from Willyama to Warialda will immerse themselves in six months of leadership development, advocacy and learning.
Among those is Cordelia Lloyd, a Year 11 student from Guyra Central School, who said they would be addressing areas that affected rural education from mental health to teacher retention and look at possible avenues like Aurora College (NSW Department of Education's virtual school) for additional learning pathways.
"At our next forum we will pick an area that can make a difference for thousands of students in rural NSW," Cordelia said, who takes part in Aurora College and wants to become a regional doctor.
"It's an amazing experience with a bunch of students who have a different unique perspective but have similar goals."
Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said inspiring and sustaining the leaders of the future was one of the most valuable contributions of schools.
"Rural and regional communities offer a range of opportunities for young people to exercise leadership, but this initiative goes further by offering some of those young leaders the opportunity to share ideas, engage with successful business and explore opportunities with key decision makers and energise each other," Ms Mitchell said.
Each of the Rural Youth Ambassadors will emerge with enhanced leadership skills and knowledge, plus stronger confidence in their future and a network of peers with whom they share interests and aspirations.
Regional Youth Minister Bronnie Taylor said the pilot would give these students the opportunity to interact with experienced local leaders and learn how they thrive where they live.
"By sharing feedback on their own school experiences, they will also play a role in helping to shape future rural and regional education for their peers," Mrs Taylor said.
The program is a collaboration between the NSW Government, Aurora College and the Country Education Partnership.