When I first met Newton, he’d just turned 17 years old, long-term unemployed job seeker and was at risk of homelessness.
The challenges he faced in regards to work was a direction. – I moved to Australia from Guinea when I was nine years old as an orphan, and I lived with my aunty up until I was 16. I had like a dark cloud over me.
I just avoided everyone, stayed by myself, just tried to fight through the pain and not communicate with people, not tell them what’s going on in my life, no-one really knew how to help me. – To come from where he lived, to then come over here, stay with his aunty, put himself through school, complete year 12, I just thought that’s phenomenal and I really need to meet Soon as met him I just fell in love with him. He’s just fantastic. And now for just the domino effect, I heard Newton’s story, wanted to meet him. I told Gregg, Gregg heard it and wanted to meet him. – Companies like John Holland and others are looking for a social enterprise to help us drive our projects, more and more people are getting an opportunity. But what we find is that it needs to be more than just a job opportunity. You need to provide support for people. – being his mentor, I think he knows having someone who really believes in him and genuinely cares to actually improve his future outcomes goes a long way. – Like right away, as soon as I met him, it was supposed to be like a 30-minute meeting, but we probably went to like two hours. It was a relief. When I left there I felt so much better. These guys believed in me and they see I have potential, and it made me realise that if you put some effort into this, like if they’re trying to help you and you’re trying to help yourself, like it’s possible, because I didn’t see anything worth fighting for within myself. I was like, “It’s not going to happen and you’re just going to end up homeless.” – Just to watch him from where he was, his body language, the way he’s grown. – It was tough, it was really tough, but with those kind of people by your side, I can’t explain it, pretty much like it’s amazing. – Any success that has come, while there has been support, it’s down to Newton and it’s down to Newton as a person, his personal ambition and his drive. – I couldn’t be prouder, and to watch him complete his traineeship, and then go into potentially an engineering side of things, where he was very passionate, and that’s all the thanks I need, is for him to succeed and he’s on a good journey to do that. – Newton has been an ongoing post-placement support and we provide Newton communication on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. We also arranged a rental bond to secure stable accommodation for Newton, so he would be in a stable environment. – They’ve literally helped me from couch surfing all the way to have like a house with my name on the lease agreement and stable accommodation. It’s a relief for once just thinking it, like how far I’ve come. Literally, if I was to look at myself like a year ago and be like, “You’re going to be going to uni next year, and you’re going to have long-term goals’” I’d be like, “Nah, no way.” Things can change and it’s literally that saying, “To every dark night there’s a brighter day.”