Warrnambool teenager Ines Gagniere is feeling animated about her future, but admits the pandemic has taken its toll on local young people. 

Miss Gagniere, a Year 12 student at Emmanuel College, was one of 711 people aged 12-19 interviewed as part of Beyond the Bell’s Youth Conversations project. 

Now the 17-year-old is designing information graphics and summaries for the next phase of the project. 

She welcomes the concept of consulting younger people and says Youth Conversations has given a voice to teenagers in the region. 

“It’s an interesting report,” Ms Gagniere said. “I was surprised to find a lot of young people do volunteer work at a young age,” she said. 

“It was also interesting that many young people wanted to feel much safer in their communities.” 

Miss Gagniere completed a survey to contribute to the research project and said it prompted her to think more about local opportunities and challenges. 

“It was a good idea to have the pandemic section because it did take a big toll last year,” she said. “In a sense, COVID greatly contributed to changing our education and connection to the community.” 

From an educational perspective, Ms Gagniere would like to see more industry-based opportunities, especially for those wanting hands-on careers. 

“More work experience would be a good idea so we can be more certain about the industry we’d like to go in,” she said. 

Miss Gagniere plans to take a gap year in 2022 and then go to university, possibly in France, to study animation. 

“That’s always been a field I’ve been interested in,” she said. 

The positive news is that she feels well supported at school to pursue her dream.