ABC Trailblazers program launches 2023 program to showcase young regional leaders

Applications are now open for the ABC’s 2023 Trailblazers program, which showcases the stories of regional Australia’s brightest new leaders.

Trailblazers is an opportunity for young innovators, aged 18 – 28, who have started social, educational and economic development projects in their regional communities, to have their work celebrated nationally.

Previous Trailblazers projects have tackled issues including strengthening Indigenous culture, youth mental health, sustainable agriculture, employment, education and supporting remote entrepreneurs.

2022 Trailblazer winner, Tisha Tejaya from Larrakia Country, Darwin tells the stories of her community in innovative ways through her project, Cornucopia.

In 2020 she published a guidebook to the produce used by Darwin’s diverse community, including stories of how migrant communities use these ingredients.

“Trailblazers has been a whirlwind, incredible experience. I’m simply doing things I never dreamt I would do. Trailblazers has also been incredible in building confidence and skill. The program has been the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Jameson Harvey is an ABC Trailblazer from Gubbi Gubbi Country, West Woombye, in Queensland. He applied for Trailblazers last year with his project Red Dirt Robotics, a high-quality robotics workshop seeking to empower, inspire and engage the next generation of young engineers in regional Australia.

“Being part of the Trailblazers program has been so beneficial to the development of Red Dirt Robotics through the continuous support. My project has grown by leaps and bounds since last year. Plus, meeting so many incredible people from regional Australia doing awesome things has been one of the best parts too!”

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, The Hon. Catherine King MP, encourages and supports regional Australia’s young leaders to get involved.

“The Trailblazers initiative has supported countless young regional and rural Australians to tell their story and more broadly, to tell the story of regional Australia – one that is as diverse as it is important.”

“Over more than two decades, ABC Heywire and the Trailblazers program has equipped young regional and rural Australians with the skills and opportunities to empower themselves and their communities.”

“In connecting the stories told by remarkable young people who are driving change in rural and regional Australia with the nation, Trailblazers broadens the understanding of what is possible and strengthens the foundation for these future leaders to succeed.”

The ABC’s Director of Regional & Local, Judith Whelan, welcomes the launch of the 2023 Trailblazers’ program, saying it marks the start of some incredible journeys for young people in regional communities around Australia.

“This is a program that has consistently delivered for those who have taken part in past years. It has also delivered substantial benefits to regional communities. Trailblazers is an inspiring and uplifting initiative and the ideas that come from it never fail to impress.”

Who can apply to be a Trailblazer?

Individuals and groups of up to three, aged 18-28, who are initiating projects that create positive change in their communities. From young community leaders to social entrepreneurs, advocates to event organisers, ABC Trailblazers are looking for young people with a commitment to strengthening their regional communities.

What do Trailblazers receive?

The chance to have their work featured on the ABC.

Exclusive opportunities to apply for Trailblazer Development Fund grants, a partnership with the Sally Foundation and the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal.

Extensive networking, media and leadership opportunities.

Applications close Thursday 20 October 2022. To apply, visit abc.net.au/trailblazers

Photos and interviews are available with Trailblazers from last year’s program.

The ABC Trailblazer program sits under the umbrella of the Heywire program, which the ABC has run in partnership with the Australia Government since 1998.

Trailblazers is a partnership between the ABC and the Australian Government through the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts; the Department of Health and Aged Care; the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations; and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

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