More than 100 of western Sydney’s best and brightest young people will help shape a vision for Parramatta’s future at the inaugural Parramatta Young Leaders Forum at the University of Western Sydney today.
Lord mayor John Chedid said the forum, hosted jointly by the council and UWS, would allow young leaders aged 17 to 24 to make their voices heard on issues such as technology, lifestyle, innovation and government.
Participants, who have been chosen from local high schools, universities and employers, would hear speakers including Federal Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Scott Morrison and head of the Kokoda Track Foundation Dr Genevieve Nelson. MC will be Channel 10 news presenter Natarsha Belling.
“I have organised this forum because I strongly believe all levels of government should listen more closely to our young people and consider their views when making decisions that will affect their future,” Cr Chedid said.
“We need to involve our future generation of leaders in our long-term decision-making to ensure Parramatta is a true city of the 21st Century.
“Young people traditionally don’t get involved in consultation initiatives so this is a great opportunity for Councillors and local business leaders to listen to their ideas and, where appropriate, work towards putting them into practice.
“Feedback from the forum will be included in a detailed report to be presented to council for consideration.”
Vice-Chancellor Professor Barney Glover says the University of Western Sydney is pleased to host the Young Leaders Forum at its Parramatta campus.
"As one of the world's best young universities, UWS is proud to play a role in developing the leaders of the future,” he said.
“We are delighted to partner with Parramatta City Council on this initiative, which seeks to give a voice to the younger generation, and harness their passion and enthusiasm to make a difference to the communities in which they live.”
Participants will discuss the following topics with local business leaders in workshops:
• Inspiring careers and future leaders
• Liveability and lifestyle
• Entrepreneurship and innovation
• The future of technology
• Government and media
In addition to Minister Morrison and Dr Nelson, two inspirational young people will address the forum: Paralympic athlete and 2012 NSW Young Athlete with a Disability Kristy Pond, and social entrepreneur, motivational speaker and author Sacha Krjatian.
Hermina Liscevic, a 2013 HSC student at Catherine McAuley Catholic secondary school in Westmead who won the John McClymont Award for History, ranked first in the State for Croatian and won the Premier’s Award for all-round excellence, will also speak at the forum.
Following the forum, there will be a civic reception where participants will network with Councillors and local business leaders and discuss their ideas in a more informal way.
Cr Chedid said he was delighted the University of Western Sydney was partnering with Council to run the forum.
“Through our Memorandum of Understanding with the university, we are working to boost higher education services in our region so local students can study where they live.
“In Parramatta, we are creating a city of the future based on high-end technology and the jobs of the future.
“We also have a strategic alliance with the University of New England which has a campus in our CBD, and are developing the Westmead biomedical precinct, Rydalmere UWS business innovation park and Camellia eco-industrial precinct.
“These are becoming centres of excellence that will attract high-end university graduates and the jobs of the future.
“We have a vision for the future where our region’s best and brightest students can go on to tertiary education and then highly qualified jobs right here in our city.”