It’s an often familiar tale. A disengaged high school student drops out of school, unsure of what the future may have in store. For Reem, who grew up in South Sydney, she left school at Year 11 and had lofty ambitions of one day becoming a travel agent.
“I liked the idea of travelling and working in an office, so I started a course and it was my first time where I was studying properly.
“Eventually though I dropped out,” she says.
Not one to quit altogether after a few bad experiences, Reem decided to give study another crack when she enrolled in a course in beauty therapy. She was also a participant of the Transition to Work program, delivered by our team at YEP (Youth Employment Partnership).
YEP’s services for this program supports young people aged 15-21 on their journey to employment. Participants receive intensive, pre-employment support to improve the work readiness of young people and help them into work (including apprenticeships and traineeships) or education.
“I’d go to the YEP office and speak about my studies, and my Mentors always checked on me to see how I was doing, ask me if I had enough money to pay for my school books, and it was then I realised that these people do care about me.
“YEP were also helping me to find a job and at the same time motivating me to go to classes.
They were the only reason I managed to finish my course,” she said.
Having completed her studies, Reem still wasn’t completely satisfied with her new found career choice. It was then that YEP Work Mentor Joyce, suggested she give an Internship through the Youth Jobs PaTH program a go to gain some valuable workplace experience.
Designed to support young people to gain the employability skills and work experience they need to get and keep a job, the program also encourages employers to host internship placements.
YEP’s strong connections with local employers around Sydney allowed Reem to commence a trial at Thread Together. Their mission is simple: To deliver new, good quality clothing and shoes to people in our community who are doing it tough. The non-profit organisation believes in restoring dignity and hope for men, women and children who are going through a difficult time by providing the opportunity to choose a complete wardrobe of new clothes.
At first Reem was hesitant to start the trial but after a few weeks, she began to gradually settle well into her role of packing and storing items in a busy, fast paced warehouse. She met new people, made new friends and was eventually given the role of taking care of the storefront for two days a week.
“Within four weeks of the eight-week internship, I was offered a six-month employment opportunity, so I must have been doing something right!” She said.
Reem admits that working closely in with a team in a client facing role had a profound impact on her, with customers personally thanking her for the work she was producing.
“Towards the end of my internship, I got quite emotional. These people had become family,” Reem said.
YEP Engagement Officer Anna believes that when young people start internships they’re doing so because they’re not quite ready to begin full-time work and still require some level of support. When Reem had completed her internship, Anna then noticed an immediate shift in Reem’s mindset.
“I noticed a different person. She’d gained empathy; she had become dependable, her communication skills had improved and took it upon herself to become more responsible,” says Anna.
Anna knew that Reem was now ready and confident to take the next step, and referred her to for an available role in administration at Australian Employment and Training Solutions (AETS) where she currently assists the team with distributing information to the team, tending to incoming calls, document management and scheduling appointments.
“I was always interested in an office job and I took a roundabout way of getting to where I am in a role that I love.” Reem said.
Since 2016, YEP Australia has engaged and monitored over 1800 young people aged 15-21 across Sydney and Adelaide who have been referred to our services for the Transition to Work program by the Federal Government. From this figure, 1033 have secured employment, many in their first ever job and 750 have enrolled to further their studies with the support of our team.
Having gained confidence after meeting new people and experiencing new challenges, Reem has learned more about what she wants in life and decided to focus her career on making a difference in people’s lives. She now admits that students and job seekers often reach out to her for career advice.
“I tell people to don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone – you’ll never know what’s around the corner if you don’t give it a try.”
If you are looking to utilise our services with YEP Australia as a participant to reach your employment and education goals, or are an employer looking to employ motivated young people to your team, contact us today:
Sydney: 1800 773 338 | Adelaide: (08) 8423 0148