Represent your peers

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Everyone swaps views and listens to other people’s ideas, almost every day. But what if you’re expected to speak on behalf of a whole lot of other young people? It can seem intimidating, but ordinary people from around Australia often step into these roles and find themselves in direct contact with the decision-makers and 'rainmakers' in government and industry. In this section we’ll outline some of the key opportunities for young people locally, nationally and internationally.

Why would I do this?

It takes all sorts

Change can come through the dedication of individuals, but governments often seek feedback from people representing larger groups. You could be elected, nominated or simply volunteer for this role. It may be a one-off event or an ongoing commitment across several years. Some people are natural debaters, and others are pushed into the spotlight.

Skill up

When you put yourself out there as a representative, you'll also pick up a range of new skills for work and life. For example, you’ll learn how to:

  • Negotiate government processes
  • Manage and build a team
  • Plan a project
  • Listen to and mediate different opinions
  • Motivate yourself and others
  • Present an argument to a group
  • Handle media attention

How do I find the opportunities?

Conferences, roundtables, committees and other opportunities are a chance to share opinions and ideas for the future that have come from your community or social group. A few key options are listed below. Visit our Youth Programs section to find out about other opportunities.

Youth councils and committees

Youth Affairs Council

In Victoria, the Youth Affairs Council (new window) is a key independent and non-government organisation that provides advice to government about young people and their needs. Become a member to get involved in the policy development process or to join one of the reference groups.

Student Representative Councils

Student representative bodies are democratically elected groups of students who can have a powerful influence on what happens within an education system. Contact VicSRC (new window) for help with setting up getting support for a council in your school.

Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (AYAC)

The Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (new window) is a new federal youth engagement intiative, which replaces the National Youth Roundtable. If you become a member of this coalition, you can vote at the Annual General Meeting and nominate for a position on the National Representative Council and Executive.

Events and forums

National Youth Week

Every year, thousands of events happen across Australia during National Youth Week. You can get involved by hosting or attending an event in your local area. There are also a small group of ‘NYW Young Members’ who help plan, develop, implement and promote the week’s activities. Visit our National Youth Week page for more information.

Australian Youth Forum

Get your ideas across to the Federal Government online in the discussion boards or in person by attending one of the events listed on the news page. There’s also a Youth Engagement Steering Committee, which helps set the direction and agenda for the Australian Youth Forum (new window).

Links

Youth Affairs Council (YACVic)
Victorian independent and non-government organisation that provides advocates to government and other groups on issues relevant to young people and their needs.

National Youth Week
Check our site for updates on events associated with this annual national event for young people in Australia.

Australian Youth Affairs Coalition
New federal youth engagement intiative, which replaces the National Youth Roundtable.

YouthGas
Subscribe to this service to keep up-to-date on networking opportunities, news and events relating to youth representation in Australia.