ACCESS to public transport has become a little easier after a group of Ballarat students took their ideas to the state government.
A top-up Myki app for iPhones, already available to android phones, has launched after The Ballarat Foundation's Youth Leadership Collective met with Buninyong MP Michaela Settle and a senior policy advisor for Victorian Public Transport Minister Ben Carroll.
This was just part of a series in creative solutions the group have been working on to make travel easier about the region, particularly for those travelling from the outskirts of Ballarat. Participants have also been lobbying Public Transport Victoria and bus line CDC on potential for an on-demand bus system.
Food security and training and development opportunities are also on their agenda.
The Collective started with five students, from a mix of Ballarat schools, last year as a way to help meet their practical skill requirements for VCAL when unable to access work placements in lockdown.
While the initial group developed a youth strategy for The Ballarat Foundation, a second group started in May on how to implement strategies tackling issues that matter to them.
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The Ballarat Foundation community impact manager Stacey Oliver said it had been incredible to see the change in confidence among the group. Most members had started uncertain about presenting to each other and now presenting to politicians and the foundation board about their ideas and their challenges.
"It's really important young people have the opportunity to have their voice heard. When they can take action and create change, they can see their voice has power," Ms Oliver said.
"I believe young people have a lot to offer bu sometimes don't feel they are taken seriously by adults and don't get the credit they deserve."
When they can take action and create change, they can see their voice has power.Stacey Oliver, The Ballarat Foundation
Youth Leadership Collective meet weekly on Wednesday mornings, including online in restrictions.
The program also challenges students in life skills, such as basic car mechanics or budget-related tasks.
"There is so much enthusiasm from young people and often they just need some guidance to explore things," Ms Oliver said.
"This program offers young people lots of opportunity and we hope for it to continue on. I think it is needed for young people. It keeps a platform for young people to feel heard."
Ms Oliver said if the program were to continue, the foundation would likely look for participants to form, develop and action on new strategies so it keeps evolving with issues that matter most to Ballarat's young people.
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