New program encouraging youth in Whittlesea to join local government

The Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA) is calling on young people from culturally diverse backgrounds from the City of Whittlesea to join their ‘Stepping Forward’ program.

Expressions of interest for the program are now open to those who are interested in being actively involved in local government decision making in their community.

The program is focused on improving leadership capacity and competence, with participants gaining a stronger understanding of civic participation and local government.

They will also learn how they can contribute, or progress change in the community.

Stepping Forward will begin in July 2022 in the City of Whittlesea and City of Casey, two councils that are currently in administration after the dismissal of councilors in 2020.

VLGA chief executive Kathryn Arndt said they look forward to the beginning of the program.

“The VLGA has a long history of working with councils to deliver initiatives that enhance local democracy through capacity building,” Ms Arndt said.

“We are excited to launch this unique program to support young people in the City of Casey and the City of Whittlesea.”

The VLGA hopes that in supporting these young people, they will be able to rebuild community trust and lay out the groundwork for the return to elected representation in 2024 in these municipalities.

“As an organization, the VLGA works to support effective local governance and decision making which includes participation in local democracy that is inclusive and represents the diversity of the community,” Ms Arndt said.

“Stepping Forward will help participants bridge the gap between informal community leadership and formal civic participation through local government election and engagement processes.

“As a pilot in the City of Casey and the City of Whittlesea, we hope to see excellent outcomes that can be transposed to other councils across Victoria.”

Selected participants from each council will receive an in-depth understanding of local issues and local government decision making, ensuring they leave the program with the ability to apply theory to real life situations.

They will also have access to specialized subject matter experts and local government decision makers throughout the duration of the program.

While learning about core concepts, participants will be supported to undertake a project for change in their municipality, from initial inception to potential council endorsement and implementation.

Expressions of Interest close on Friday, July 8.

Details: www.vlga.org.au/sites/default/files/Stepping Forward EOI – 2022-05-23 FINAL INTERACTIVE.pdf.

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