By Matt Male

CONFUSING public transport timetables, cooking, budgeting and shocking power bills.
These are just some of the problems regional students face when packing up their belongings and moving to the city to study.
But Wonthaggi’s Josh Baker is on a mission to change that.
He’s leading an advocacy campaign to offer more support and better access for students wanting to continue studying after high school.
The campaign’s part of a broader program by the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria, encouraging young people to advocate for an issue in their community.
Josh wants to set up a program to give Year 12 students, who are keen to attend university, the skills to gain part-time work, find accommodation and navigate the public transport system.
The program would include resume writing, and gaining customer service and hospitality skills. That’s on top of making connections with other students, finding scholarships, and learning how to budget and cook.
Josh says it’s about giving students the tools and confidence to study outside of the region.
“If the program becomes obsolete because we have the tertiary facilities here, then that would be fantastic,” Josh said.
“But until then, we need to support young people in our society.”
He’s heard the argument that if youth move away, they won’t come back to the community.
And he reckons that’s bollocks.
“As a society, we’re not doing our job if we inhibit youth. If we support young people, then they’re more likely to come back and support the community,” says Josh, who also works at the Bass Coast Adult Education Centre.
“It’ll hopefully alleviate the barriers for studying and get more students comfortable with going to university.
“There are local pathways, but this program is targeting those who need to be at a big university… like those studying engineering or science.”
The program’s dependent on funding from the Bass Coast Shire Council.