The Youth Worker: Brendan’s Story

♪(Music playing)♪ I was a finalist in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander category of the 2015 Australian Training Awards. ♪(Music playing)♪ I felt taken back that I was nominated because I didn’t feel that I could achieve it. I’ve never really achieved anything in the education side of things and stuff like that, and I thought well there’s no chance, they’ll pick some sort of flashy young guy or young girl to do that and to represent the State and stuff like that. But little did I know that it was more about the real stories and the real people, that that’s what they wanted to have and that’s why they nominated me, and I was really, really chuffed. ♪(Music playing)♪ At my age of 46 when I began the training it was very hard, because I didn’t complete any schooling in my life sort of thing. I didn’t even complete Grade 6, so that was a barrier unto its own, that I had to sort of begin reading Grade 4 books and stuff at the beginning of my training. But I didn’t want to hide behind that anymore. I really wanted to have qualifications behind me, because I felt that I had a career now instead of a job. ♪(Music playing)♪ I did find myself back here at the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre. I got the position on life experiences alone, but I felt that I really needed to learn the professional side of my career because I really want to know, like especially around policy and procedures and the dos and don’ts with working with young people. ♪(Music playing)♪ Even my employer has given me more responsibility now in the managerial side of things, because they can even see that my personal gain that I’ve got out of the whole process of the Australian Training Awards – yeah, my professional outlook, I’ve even sort of like – I’m calmer and stuff in the workplace now where I’m feeling more at home here. ♪(Music playing)♪ You can always do more training. Even if you think that you can’t achieve your goals to get the employment or the career you’re looking for, it’s never too late to go back to school and do more training. The VET training sector is always a great stepping stone into further training as well, and that’s the way that I’m utilising it, because I want to go to U Tas and become a social worker. So initially the VET training was a bit of a stepping stone to show me that I can do it. That’s been my message to my community, especially to the 60 odd children that I work with on a fortnightly basis, that it’s never too late to do more training and more education to get the career that you want to get to. ♪(Music playing)♪

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About the Author: Oren Garnes

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