Studies prompt Berat to give back

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Starting from scratch in a new country is often difficult, especially if the language is a barrier. For Berat Kaya, those tough days as a new migrant to Australia are behind him, with the 22-year-old now armed with an education and a new career as a youth counselor helping other young people connect to the society.

Growing up in Ankara, Turkey, Mr. Kaya recalls spending his days studying, meeting friends and exploring a variety of hobbies, from photography to sports.

But life hasn’t always been rosy – financial hardship and inadequate educational options meant limited prospects for Mr Kaya as his family decided to migrate to Australia in 2018 to secure a better future.

As his family began to build a new life in Melbourne, Mr Kaya quickly realized the challenges that lay ahead.

“I faced racism because of my cultural identity and not knowing enough English,” he said.

Mr. Kaya enrolled in a Certificate IV in spoken and written English at the Kangan Institute’s Broadmeadows campus to improve his language skills and social relations.

What he didn’t expect is that the course will also put him on a career path he loves.

“Kangan has very nice teachers and students and that has helped me a lot,” he said.

“When community workers from the Brotherhood of St Laurence visited our classes, it changed my life for a good way. I started participating in their workshops and events, which made me feel more confident about being myself and speaking English.

After completing his English studies, Mr. Kaya took certificate courses in business and community service, and is now studying the Youth Work Diploma.

A deep passion for empowering youth and giving back to the community has also inspired her participation in various community development projects for youth and in volunteer roles at the Kangan Institute, the Fraternité de Saint-Laurent, advice from Hume and VicRoads’ TAC L2P program.

Mr. Kaya now has a job he enjoys, with his initial connection with the Brotherhood of Saint-Laurent leading to a job as a youth counselor with the organization.

“I work with young people and I try to motivate them, encourage them and connect them to society. I also create workshops and projects for young people, ”he said.

“I like being able to help people. When I arrived in this country I was lost, but with the help of educators I found my way and now I can stand on my own feet. With this work, I can give back to the community.


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