A key innovation to AWARD School 2019 was our new regional program, making Australia’s best creative course available to students in parts of regional Australia for the first time. This year regional Victoria and the NT were included in the program, with a national rollout planned for 2020. Here 2019 AWARD School regional graduate Jemma Gray shares her insights into the course from a regional student’s perspective.

I used to think growing up in Kyneton, in regional Victoria was a punishment. In a town with a population of 7,000 I felt far away from everything. But it has given me a perspective of life that for many, seems unrealistic.

When I was younger, the norm for me was:
– A kangaroo sanctuary in the paddock;
– Dirt roads;
– Bush fires and being very conscious of the weather
– Sense of community, everyone knows and cares for one another

School showed me that this ‘norm’ wasn’t the case for most. It wasn’t until I started going to University in Melbourne that I realised my sense of normal was confusing to others. People couldn’t understand that when I leave home in the morning,

I have to deal with kangaroos bouncing up and down the drive way. Or that in the summer, the threat of bushfires is very real and during that time I am constantly on the Vic emergency app. But I understood their perspective.

The hustle and bustle of the CBD was mind boggling and even overwhelming.
Living regionally means that some opportunities are just not available in smaller towns. I had to travel for Uni and if I want to work in my degree field, I had to look for work in the city.

It can be near impossible to find internships or short-courses that don’t involve traveling to capital cities but it’s good to see that more opportunities are being offered for regional and rural people—such as AWARD School 2019, which I was fortunate enough to complete in the inaugural regional category.

I never thought my application would be successful.

Being a ‘country bumpkin’, my initial thought was that there are people out there who live and breathe this industry, there is no chance someone like me, who just wanted to give it a go, would be accepted.

To be told that I had been accepted into AWARD School and being the first and only VIC regional student made me emotional. It was from that moment on I said to myself I can do this, I have the potential.

AWARD School opened my eyes to other possibilities and the fact there exists a job where you get paid for coming up with creative ideas (how cool!). Being someone with no experience in this area, I was grateful for feedback provided by the tutors from Redhanded. If it wasn’t for them, I don’t think I would have been able to push my ideas as far as I did.

I think it is important to realise that even though living in a regional or rural area may not provide you with the obvious opportunities and experiences that those living in the city may have, the life experiences are invaluable.

They offer a different perspective and have shaped me to be the person I am today. It’s good to see that many organisations (like AWARD School) are realising this and aiming to provide opportunities to individuals like me.

Looking back, I really do appreciate where I have come from. It also makes me appreciate things that others would take for granted, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Learn more about AWARD School by attending the Application Workshop this November in Sydney. Perth or Melbourne – Only $95pp BOOK NOW