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Student leaders from across the country gathered at St Patrick’s College Ballarat as part of the Edmund Rice Education Australia’s Young Leaders Conference. 

More than 50 young people from 40 schools in almost every state and territory participated in the conference.

The theme of conference was “Voice and Agency”. The young leaders explored an understanding of leadership from a Gospel and Edmund Rice perspective, and the importance of justice, Reconciliation, advocacy, service and global engagement. They networked together as they reflected on their own personal journey of leadership and how to look after their own and their peers’ wellbeing. 

The delegates also had the opportunity to be the first group consulted as part of the mission direction and strategy for the future of EREA. Throughout the gathering they participated in in prayer, liturgy and reflection.

The students were also joined online by past Edmund Rice young leaders from South Africa and India, who shared their own experiences of leading in their nations’ context

Ballarat Bishop Paul Bird attended the gathering for an evening, sharing both grace and story with the delegates.

Andy Kuppe, EREA Victorian Schools chief executive said the conference was “a great opportunity” for student leaders across Australia to learn about leadership in a Catholic school. 

“It was an inspiring experience of Catholic Social Teaching in action as they shared justice strategies, what current initiatives are working well in each school, hopes for the future and areas of challenge,” Mr Kuppe said.

EREA national executive director Liam Smith said: “These gatherings are at the heart of the EREA family of schools, as they give the opportunity for our people to reflect together about the heart of our educational mission – our spirituality and charism.”


Edmund Rice Young School Leaders Vision the Future Together (EREA)