a photo of Berat, a former BSL program participant

“When I attended BSL workshops, I started to make some friends and it gave me more confidence”

- Berat, former BSL program participant

Meet 21-year-old, Berat. He was a successful photographer back in his home country of Turkey, but when he migrated to Australia, he found it tough to break into the job market here.

He struggled to find work due to his lack of English, interview skills and local networks, and he experienced a lot of racism.

"I was experiencing very bad times, because I didn’t know any friends, I was very alone,”

“Because I have broken English, they think that I’m not able to do something, they think that I’m stupid, so it’s really hard to prove yourself. And when you send your resume and they see that it’s not Australian names, they just reject you.”

Berat’s life turned around when he became a participant in the Brotherhood of St. Laurence (BSL) Youth Transitions Support Program which helps young refugees participate in the community through work, education and sport. This program believes all young people have skills and talents and works with them to build career goals that align to their aspirations and interests.

photo of Berat receiving a certificate

BSL’s Youth Development Coaches encouraged Berat to develop his photography business, since he has expertise in this area.

“They helped me to create a photography business. And they connected me to the council and other organisations. I started to work for BSL, doing photography, videography jobs for pay. Then during the long lockdown, they helped me apply for a business course.”

Focusing on Berat’s strengths meant he was much more likely to be successful at finding work, rather than placing him in a job or study program that didn’t match his skills.

Berat also completed a course in community work, as he really wanted to help people like him. Utilising the skills he learnt through study and photography, he is now employed as a Youth Advisor for BSL. This role is important to Berat as he is now assisting other young people at risk of poverty find work, and giving back to the community. He even won a local council Young Citizen of the Year award.

Berat’s story is an inspiring example of when you invest in young people’s talents and capabilities, they can triumph and succeed in life, making lasting change for themselves.

Unfortunately, as the long-term effects of the COVID-19 crisis continue to unfold, many young people have found themselves in similar circumstances facing unemployment without adequate support. 

That is why programs like our Youth Transitions Support Program are more important than ever.

You can help support young people, like Berat, attend tailored employment programs so they can get into work and have a brighter future. Donate now at bsl.org.au/donate-youth or call 1300 DONATE today.