Elias Youssef, 34 (pictured graduating in November) is making a dramatic career change, from transportation to youth welfare. He was one of the first students to graduate from the Australian College of Applied Psychology's (ACAP) Diploma of Youth Work, which was launched in 2015.
The course content is designed for students looking to work on programs supporting young people. Its subjects cover youth development and issues such as family breakdown, homelessness, mental health and juvenile justice. The full-time course load is nine units over one year.
We spoke with Elias about his career change, and what the future holds for him with his new qualifications.
What did you do before undertaking the Diploma of Youth Work?
I had my own trucking company and used to drive trucks. I had three trucks and five staff on rotating shifts - it was stressful and I'd had enough. I realised I wasn't aware of what was going on in society; my life was contained to the cab of my truck, organising shifts for my staff and the running of my business. I wanted to change my life and go in a completely different direction. I wanted to learn about what was happening in society, especially when it came to young people.
Why did you choose to do the Diploma of Youth Work?
It's a real passion of mine to help young people, to offer them guidance and provide them with long-term support. I want to enhance their lives, be a positive influence in their lives and give them direction. I believe that helping young people create short and long term goals will be truly beneficial to them. From my own personal experience, I know how such help can transform lives.
What do you plan to do with your qualifications?
My heart lies in working in residential care, I have friends who have been in residential care for the past 14 years and have gained some knowledge of this area through their experiences. I also want to work in outreach programs as I truly believe they benefit young people.