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Engaging Young People


Young people's views of rural towns. Why developing young people is important for small towns. Why it is hard to stop young ... 10 towns, 'multimedia mayhem' ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Engaging Young People

Engaging Young People
  • Presentation to the Small Towns Summit
  • Maffra August 2009
  • Paul Collits and Kaye Scholfield

  • Young peoples views of rural towns
  • Why developing young people is important for
    small towns
  • Why it is hard to stop young people leaving rural
  • The impact of social change, especially the
    sexual revolution
  • Cult of education
  • What RMIT is doing in Hamilton
  • Some strategies for engaging young people

What Young People Think of Rural Towns Jade
  • Girls my age want to do something more than
    being a hairdresser or a housewife or a check-out
    chick. Thats all there is really offering in a
    small town. I always said I wanted to get out.
    I want to travel and go overseas. I want to see
    everything and do everything. Theres more to
    life than Hay

  • If you dont mind being a shop assistant or a
    hairdresser, its fine here. But if you want to
    do something more if you want to have, like, a
    professional career, you have to go away to
    study. And once youve seen other places, its
    really not much to come back to.

Keeping the Youth
  • The long term future of many small rural
    communities is dependent on young people either
    staying or coming back to their community(Lani
    Houston 2005)

Why Developing Young People is Vital for Rural
  • The rural population is ageing
  • Average of farmers is high and rising
  • Business owners retire
  • Volunteers burn out
  • The talent base is thin compared to larger places
  • Future success depends upon economic diversity
    and this means new ideas, new thinking
  • Keeping small towns vibrant needs renewable
    energy and next gen leadership
  • Futures thinking is critical because the
    economic, social and environmental issues are
    getting bigger

Conflicting Views of Rural Youth Out-migration
  • It is terrible that our best and brightest leave
    we should do something about it
  • They will go all young people are mobile dont
    try to stop them but encourage them to come back
    with their enhanced skills
  • The current youth allowance debate highlights the
    dilemma we want a better deal for our young,
    even if their leaving hurts us!

The Sexual Revolution and the Decline of Small
  • Social change drives economic change
  • Cheap access to the pill changed everything
  • Now, most young people and more girls aspire to
    the portfolio life
  • The aspirations of rural Gen Y are high and
  • Cities maximise opportunities for the portfolio
    life thick labour markets and mating markets
  • This means they wont necessarily come back
  • A classic wicked problem

The Modern Cult of Education
  • The knowledge economy prosperity depends on
    human capital
  • Lifelong learning second degrees becoming the
  • Education seen as a means to personal fulfilment
    and wealth (graduates earn more)
  • Schools and many parents encourage young people
    only to think university
  • Cultural pressure - you are seen as a failure if
    you stay
  • Greater participation of rural youth in higher ed
    is a 2 edged sword
  • And not every regional area can have a university

Some Figures
  • 1970s 30, now over 80 complete Year 12, and we
    are aiming even higher
  • More Year 12 completions and expanded places
    through HECS means more go to university
  • The number enrolled in higher ed in 1980 was 324
    000 in 2008 the figure was 925 500
  • 55 enrolments female (57 commencing enrolments)
  • Higher ed attainment 6th highest in the OECD
  • Government wants this to go even higher (40)
  • Yet up to a third of the jobs done by graduates
    do not require a uni degree!
  • All this doesnt help small towns to keep their

RMIT Initiatives in Southern Grampians Shire
  • RMIT University at Hamilton is focusing on youth
    issues in rural Victoria
  • The 10 MMM Project
  • Landscapes 4 Young People
  • Young Entrepreneurs Program
  • Next Gen Farmers Rural Leadership Program

10 MMM
  • 10 towns, multimedia mayhem
  • Exploring the use of technology by young people
    in a rural community, and its impact on their
    aspirations and social relationships
  • Young people used as researchers
  • Project has helped broaden the thinking of the
    young about technology

Landscapes 4 Young People
  • An action research project in Glenelg and
    Southern Grampians Shires
  • Create more opportunities and better services for
    young people in our region
  • Identify current needs, patterns, issues
  • Do this by engaging the young in the research
  • Inform Shires in future strategies for young

Young Entrepreneurs Program
  • Aim is to create new community wealth by
    encouraging young people to generate great new
    business ideas
  • A first for Southern Grampians Shire
  • A partnership across the community
  • Support from Hamilton Regional Business
  • Technical skills component and community support
  • Workshops, mentoring, great ideas competition
  • Utilising local role models and RMITs Bachelor
    of Business (Eship)
  • This model can be replicated in other communities

Next Gen Farmers
  • A capacity building initiative for young farmers,
    rural enterprise managers and future community
  • Funding by DAFF
  • Addressing uncertainty and increasingly complex
  • Mentoring by current rural leaders
  • Developing both skills and knowledge
  • Again, a model that can be replicated

Strategies for Engaging and Developing Young
  • Recognise realities, but challenge stereotypes
  • Think regionally, work together regionally
  • Recognise the importance of entrepreneurship
  • Support young entrepreneurs
  • Everywhere develop a culture of innovation
  • Lower barriers to entry for young people to
  • Tell them they dont have to leave
  • Tell them there are many options if they stay,
    including being a check out chick

  • Dr Paul Collits
  • Research Fellow
  • Regional Development in Global Context
  • School of Global Studies, Social Science and
    Planning RMIT University
  • PO Box 572 Hamilton VIC 3300
  • ph 61 3 5572 0537
  • fax 61 3 5572 0538
  • mobile 0410 524742
  • email paul.collits_at_rmit.edu.au
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