Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project is keen to speak to young people not in work or study.

At any given time about a quarter, or an estimated 2,000 young people, are not in work or study in Greater Shepparton.

While the figure is not so different to much of Australia, our community is concerned that so many young people are not realising their potential.

Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Executive Officer, Lisa McKenzie, said our region was missing out on the ideas, the skills and the productive capacity of young people who had fallen by the wayside.

“We want to understand why kids aren’t engaged or participating in school, post-secondary study or work. What are the issues leading to their disengagement and what are the barriers to re-engaging,’’ Mrs McKenzie said.

We want to hear firsthand from up to 100 young people about their life experiences as well as their aspirations.

The information will be used to lobby and advocate for the young people and inform policy and program development.

“Imagine the dormant potential and talent that we are not capitalising on as a region. We want to understand what is not working for these kids and  what is required to get them back on a path to success.’’

“It’s easy to point the finger at the kids, but there is much we can do as a community to get them on the right path such as mentoring, tutoring and practical things like access to transport,’’ Mrs McKenzie said.

“We are really looking forward to capturing the firsthand accounts of these young people and using the information to identifying ways to improve outcomes for our young people.’’

Mrs McKenzie said participants could range in age from 12 to 24. She explained names will be withheld to protect the privacy of participants and all young people or their parents would be required to complete consent forms.

If you would like to share your story or know someone who may like to participate please contact Michelle Luscombe on 0427 265 306.