Ardoch Youth Advisory Group lend voices to decision-making

When: 28 Nov 2022

Our first Ardoch Youth Advisory Group (YAG) funded by ENGAGE! was a great success on Wednesday, 2 November. The group of young advisors was made up of eleven Year 9/10 students from two schools in two different regions – Mount Alexander College and Mt Hira College.

For many years, Ardoch has collected feedback from students about their experiences in Ardoch programs through surveys that enable us to gather responses about their experience. While this data provides valuable insight for us to evaluate programs, it does not empower young people to have a voice in decision-making. The Youth Advisory Group project has been implemented in response to a need for deeper engagement with young people to help improve outcomes.

Taking place in the Ardoch head office, the meeting was a productive information and planning session. The students provided insightful feedback about some of Ardoch’s programs and gave us some suggestions for programs they would love to see in the future.

The range of views were diverse but there were some commonalities in what the students liked about Ardoch programs (all Pathways programs!) and areas they feel young people their age require more resources and support.

Preparing for the future

As part of our child safety journey, Ardoch recognises that youth participation is fundamental in creating an organisation where youth voices are heard, and young people feel empowered. This type of engagement has significant benefits, through meaningful participation from children and young people, Ardoch can:

  • Improve and maximise our impact
  • Enhance the quality of our programs
  • Gain insight into the experiences and needs of children and young people
  • Improve best practice regarding Child Safety by ensuring direct input from children / young people

Participants in Ardoch’s Youth Advisory Group also have wonderful development opportunities as they are challenged to thoughtfully consider their educational needs and the needs of others. Taking on the responsibility of being a voice for their peers and being actively involved in shaping decision-making at an organisation focussed on their education provides an invaluable experience as they prepare for their futures and the workforce.

We look forward to hosting the group again for their next meeting in December and hearing their views!