Victorian Youth Congress

VYC works with government to identify and advocate for issues that matter to young people and to shape policy, programs and services that affect them

This case study shows

The voices of young people lead to action.

About this case study

The Victorian Youth Congress (VYC) is an advisory group for the Minister for Youth made up of young Victorians between 12 and 25 years of age established by the Victorian Government in 2018. By 2021, over 60 young Victorians had participated in VYC.

VYC works with government to identify and advocate for issues that matter to young people and to shape policy, programs and services that affect them. Examples include youth participation and improving young people’s mental health.


For government

  • Direct advice and input from young people
  • Constructively challenge government to do its best
  • Fresh ideas and outside-the-box thinking
  • Example: members informed the design of public consultation for the whole of government Victorian Youth Strategy that was accessible and engaging for young people, facilitated online forums and provided recommendations for inclusion in the strategy.

For young people

  • Opportunity to influence change
  • Learning and professional development
  • Build networks and make friends
  • Examples: One member used the skills they gained to support development of a youth action plan in their local council. Another was elected to local youth council and is working to establish a network of youth councils and council advisory boards across Victoria.

Success factors

Diversity of members: the Office for Youth works with partners in the youth sector to ensure VYC represents the rich diversity of Victoria’s young people. In the 20-21 term:

  • Almost half the members were from culturally and linguistically diverse communities
  • 3 members were young Aboriginal people
  • 3 members identified as living with disability
  • A third of the members were from rural and regional areas
  • Almost half the members identified as being part of the LGBTIQ+ community.

Dedicated support from Office for Youth team (secretariat, workshops, training and mentoring)

Executive champions who seek opportunities to promote and engage VYC across government

Ministerial engagement: Minister for Youth publicly reflects on the value and contributions of VYC and attends some meetings)

Remuneration and support: members are paid fees to recognise the value of their time. Members build knowledge and skills to succeed in the role and take on leadership roles in their communities. They learn about community engagement, project management, group leadership, advocacy, and government systems and processes.

What young people say

Tom, 19 years old, Shepparton:

As young people we usually have very limited experience of how government and policy works. Through VYC we have not only been given insight into how to genuinely shape policy and create positive change but we also build up our confidence; confidence in how we can communicate with government and relevant decision-makers to speak up on the issues that affect our lives, but also how to speak up for the people around us who might have slipped through the cracks of government policy but don't know how to speak up on their own, to address the issues that impact them and our communities.

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Victorian Youth Congress
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