FACING school retention and breaking down gender barriers in career paths were issues atop Blake Cox's agenda in guiding the YMCA Ballarat and Grampians board.
The 18-year-old stepped up as young chief executive officer for a day, working alongside YMCA Ballarat president Keryn Crebbin and chief Brooke LeSueur to share his aspirations for the organisation.
"(I would love) the Y to be the place where people can come and feel comfortable, be listened to and supported," Mr Cox said.
"I'm very grateful to the YMCA for the opportunity to get more involved in the community and look at important issues for young people such as school retention numbers and breaking down traditional gender stereotyped career paths."
YMCA Young CEO for the Day is a nationwide initiative in the organisation, enabling young people aged 18 to 30, a chance to experience leadership. The move, as part of National Youth Week, reflects the organisation's mission to empower inspired young people to positively impact their communities.
Mr Cox joined the YMCA aged 16 on a school-based apprenticeship in children's services. He is now an outside school hours care educator for the YMCA Grampians' program at Ararat Primary School and is studying a diploma in children's services.
About 30 per cent of the YMCA Ballarat and Grampians workforce is under the age of 30.
YMCA Ballarat and Grampians chief executive officer Brooke LeSueur said having a young chief for a day was a great chance to explore new ways and perspectives to improve employment and program opportunities for young people in the region.
The young CEO day comes a week after YMCA Ballarat's inaugural youth summit, which drew more than 50 student representatives from high schools across the region to workshop better youth mental health outcomes.
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