Interview with Committee Members Gill & Ashley


Why did you join the Goldfields LLEN committee?

GILL: Simply because it was a worthy organisation that works as a broker to education, which is my background. They link in with a strong focus on young people, linking them to industries and other businesses.

ASHLEY: I had the chance to apply from a student council at Bendigo Senior Secondary College and it looked exciting. I thought it would be a good opportunity to get a taste of what it is like to be on a board and how they actually operate. There are opportunities to build networks and we are working for a worthwhile cause.


What do you do? What skills and knowledge have your brought into the committee?

GILL: My role is to provide support to our young people to ensure they are comfortable in discussions. I provide information and explain the protocols as required. I sit with young people beforehand, during and after meetings to make sure they’re comfortable and to ensure committees are not asking too much from their workloads. I would say I am a mentor.

ASHLEY: My role is that I’m the youth member, so I essentially provide perspective and make sure the young people of Bendigo are represented – whether that is giving advice on a specific project, policy or just giving my input as a young person.


How has being a part of the committee benefitted you personally?

GILL: I am always challenged by these young people – it’s just wonderful! Even when I was teaching, I just found it lovely when I had students in the room because they brought new perspectives and they’d teach me a lot. You don’t get stale around them so it’s really beneficial for everyone. You have opportunities that you don’t realise you’ve got perhaps and you’re in the position to learn new trends, which is important because when you’re in an organisation of any sort for too long you can get a bit blasé.

ASHLEY: I would say that I’ve also been inspired by some of the young people that we hear from. We’ve had presentations that I think the youngest was probably a Year 3 student from Coder Dojo. I’m representing the young people, but hearing about even younger people in Bendigo has been awesome! Just the connections and support that has been given to me through the GLLEN as a youth ambassador and the career advice and support I have received has been fantastic.


What are some inspiring stories that you have come across?

GILL: What I’m inspired by is all the young people I get to see grow and move into different fields. They’re all at different levels, mainly from Year 9 to Year 11, and in those two short years it is great to see how they grow and the knowledge they learn. Their stories are so invigorating. To see them light up and re-engage with their education when they realise their opportunities is a great thing to see.

ASHLEY: I remember hearing about Castlemaine Secondary and some of the work that the student council was up to there, and these students just taking it all on and running new initiatives. Their dynamic was inspiring and the leadership that came from the school to allow these students to actually take on a more substantial issue within the school. Similarly meeting other people that are involved in the GLLEN, you have such a huge range of knowledge and perspectives that are available, and very inspiring!


What has been your biggest highlight of being on the committee?

ASHLEY: I’ve really enjoyed working with Jill, Ian and Damien, they were the people that I was directly involved with over the two years that I have been a part of this program.

GILL: That’s two-way. I enjoyed working with the people on the committee and also the people within the community who are actively engaged with communicating with the youth in our community. It’s a powerful community to be part of.


How is the Goldfields LLEN Committee helping to benefit the community?

GILL & ASHLEY: It’s sort of like a brokerage firm where people are in the background, the focus is not on them which is really great. There’s no ego within the committee, everyone is valued and has a voice.


What barriers are there in achieving improved education, training and employment options and outcomes for young people in the City of Greater Bendigo?

ASHLEY: Youth unemployment within Bendigo is huge, nationally we are ranked in the top five for youth unemployment.

GILL: Many youths are looking for jobs and being below the poverty line places them at a disadvantage, as it makes it very difficult for them to maintain housing and other living standards required to hold a job.

If you’re not in school or TAFE it’s very hard to be aware of opportunities that are available and social perceptions all create barriers in youth finding employment.