Bendigo Education Council chair Darren McGregor with students. Photo: ANDREW PERRYMAN

Students from local secondary schools presented their 2030 vision to members to the Greater Bendigo Economic Development Strategy Steering Committee on Monday.

Mayor Margaret O’Rourke,  as chair of the committee said that students provided an invaluable contribution to the region.

“It was an opportunity to hear the views of students from Year 10 and Year 11 and their vision for Greater Bendigo in 2030,” Cr O’Rourke said.

The committee’s “Greater Bendigo – where people thrive” discussion paper focuses on making the city more inclusive and sustainable.

The paper is designed to foster discussions that will make jobs more sustainable, and health, wellbeing, education and the environment a priority.

“This is a community-led strategy. The members of the committee recognise the importance of creating a place where people can thrive,” Cr O’Rourke said.

The strategy aims to uplift Greater Bendigo’s performance to levels equivalent to state and national averages in the area of per capita gross regional product, Year 12 or equivalent educational attainment and reducing greenhouse gas emissions to deliver a net zone carbon city by 2036 or earlier.

Catherine McAuley College Year 10 student Kate Beekes told the forum that university was not for everyone.

“TAFE is a great opportunity that needs to be encouraged. There are not a lot of pathways for young people to find their groove,” Ms Beekes said.

It is proposed the discussion paper will help inform the Greater Bendigo Economic Development Strategy, which will be released in 2020, following feedback.

NICHOLAS NAKOS