After hearing about the demand for youth workers, Rhys McKenzie decided that now was the time to pivot his career to an area that held a special place in his own personal story.
“I thought about it long and hard and it came down to me saying to myself, ‘Someone was there for you when you were young, so why not be there for somebody in the same position?’”
With Free TAFE enabling Rhys to study a Certificate IV in Youth Work, he soon discovered that youth work is more than the ability to help others.
“It’s not just about learning how to work with young people; it’s about learning about yourself so you can help young people,” he said.
After completing the certificate, Rhys decided to continue his journey with a Diploma of Youth Work at RMIT.
He said one of the highlights of the diploma was being able to bring his personal passion for filmmaking into a placement undertaken with the Deer Park Library.
He said one of his highlights of the diploma was being able to bring his personal passion for filmmaking into a virtual placement undertaken with the Deer Park Library.
"Our project was to provide young people with videos on topics they had enquired about with the library staff. The team of students and I created a massive pool of videos that addressed most of these topics. It was a lot of work, but I had a lot of fun doing them and would definitely do it again.”
Having completed his vocational training at RMIT, Rhys is now working as a support worker at the Salvation Army.
“This involves checking in on our clients that are staying in the hotels, completing welfare checks, helping with food and travel aid, and working with their case managers to help them achieve their goals.
“I aspire to work in a school as a youth worker or counsellor one day. Right now, my main goal is to gain as much experience as possible.”
Story: Pallavi Daniel and Jacob Johnston