Southern Cross University nursing student John Palencia has been selected for the highly regarded 2023 Regional Youth Taskforce, representing the North Coast Region. Composed of 18 young leaders from regional areas, the taskforce provides policy and operational advice to the NSW Government and advocates for the needs of young people in regional areas.
"I want to be able to advocate and give as much value as I can to the young people of regional New South Wales," said John. "It's not every day you get a call from your local MP!"
Throughout the year, the taskforce will focus on the four main areas of the Regional Youth Framework: Wellbeing, Connectivity, Work Ready and Community.
"I would like to push for better youth mental health and wellbeing, and help youth enter the workforce and access tertiary education more easily," he said.
Coffs Harbour MP Mr Gurmesh Singh met with John to congratulate him on his new position.
"I know he will be an excellent ambassador for our region and I wish him every success," Mr Singh wrote on Facebook, sharing the announcement.
John is no stranger to being a young leader in the community; he currently serves as the President of the Coffs Harbour Nursing Society, is a student member of the Faculty of Health board, and regularly participates in local events as a Southern Cross University Student Ambassador.
Excited to begin his final year of Nursing in March, John plans on working regionally after completing his degree.
"I'm set on working in a rural or regional facility, for the lifestyle and the variety of work that we get to do," he said.
"Long-term, I am interested in mental and public health and community service. There are a lot of things I want to do with the Bachelor of Nursing degree. I really like the idea of combining nursing and teaching and hopefully working at a university one day, teaching future nurses."
John’s appointment is the second time a Southern Cross student has made the grade in the last two years. Marine Science student Luke Austin served on the taskforce in 2022.
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