Holmesglen student Grace Bova didn’t know what she wanted to do after finishing high school.
She decided to take a gap year and ended up working in a takeaway pizza and burger place.
At the time, a friend was facing significant personal challenges and Grace accompanied him to Headspace, a non-profit organisation providing mental-health support to young people. It was there she had an “aha moment”.
“I saw the amount of work that the staff put in to help him get better. That made me go, ‘Wow’. It was amazing to see the effort and care they were putting into one person,” she recalls.
She immediately knew she had found her career – as a youth worker.
What Grace did next
To make her new career dream a reality, Grace enrolled in the Certificate IV in Youth Work CHC40413 at Holmesglen, which she completed in a year.
To broaden her skill set, she has followed this up with six more months of study in the Diploma of Youth Work CHC50413, which Grace aims to finish by year end.
Currently volunteering at Headspace and working as a teacher’s aide in a school for children with autism, the 22-year-old plans to seek work as a peer-support worker when she is a fully qualified youth worker.
“Peer-support workers work one-on-one with young people and help them through whatever challenges they’re facing and to make community connections,” says Grace.
“So, I could be helping them get into sports clubs or community groups so they can branch out into the community more. And I could be offering companionship, as some clients can be lonely.”
What skills did the Certificate IV in Youth Work teach her?
Grace has learned a wide range of skills in the course, from responding to critical situations such as homelessness, domestic violence and sex abuse, to promoting the health and safety of young people living in various cultural communities.
One of the most important skills she has learned has been active listening.
“That’s learning how to actively engage in a conversation.
“So, you’re not just sitting there saying, ‘Yep, yep, sure’. You’re asking follow-up questions and recapping what they’re saying, which builds trust and relationships.”
Grace’ says her teachers at Holmesglen have extensive “lived experience” and can share real-life experiences of being a youth worker.
“They don’t sugar coat the job, which is good. You need to be given straightforward information and understand what the job is about.”
What Grace enjoyed most
Grace’s favourite part of the Certificate IV in Youth Work CHC40413 was the role-playing scenarios.
“Role play is daunting, but you get a better idea of the kind of situations you’ll be faced with,” she says.
And her favourite part of the Diploma of Youth Work CHC50413 was going to Headspace (via Zoom videos because of lockdowns) for her practical placement. She found the experience hugely insightful and interesting.
“It gave me an in-depth look at what the staff do, and I got to work on a project to make a Headspace waiting room more comfortable and inviting for young people,” she says.
Advice for people considering the Certificate IV in Youth Work
“Before you do the course, research what a youth worker does so you get a better understanding, and make sure it’s something you’re passionate about,” Grace recommends.
While some clients’ life experiences can be “quite hard to hear”, the course teaches students how to effectively listen and respond to those experiences, and also the importance of self-care.
“You can’t really help other people unless you’re taking care of yourself, too,” Grace points out.
Now her studies are nearly finished, Grace is looking forward to finding work and getting out in the field.
“Just being able to help people, especially at this time, with the pressures of the pandemic, will be extremely rewarding,” she says.
Find out more about our Certificate IV in Youth Work CHC40413 and how to apply.
The course is a prerequisite to a Diploma of Youth Work CHC50413. The diploma is due to be offered at Holmesglen from mid-2022. Keep an eye on our website for details.