Last month, nearly two years after disengaging from school, Kai, 17, started his full time construction apprenticeship with Hutchinson Builders.

He had been actively looking for work. “I didn’t like mainstream school at all. I wanted to do something else,” he says.

“I have something to do now. I work every day. It’s pretty good. It keeps me busy. It helps me see what I want to do in the future.”

Over a year ago, Kai’s mother referred him to YFS and he joined the YouthLink program.

“I was feeling a bit nervous when I walked in, but everyone was very helpful.”

Kai worked with Kara and she helped him in the process of getting his ID and Certificate of Aboriginality, his White Construction Card and completing both Responsible Service of Alcohol and Provide Responsible Gambling Services courses.

“YFS also helped me arrange my Centrelink payments, find a job provider, get my Learner’s licence and start driving lessons for my Provisional one.”

“Before coming here I pretty much did nothing. I just stayed home all day playing my Play Station,” he says.

While working with Kara, Kai also decided to leave his family home. Last August, YFS assisted him to move into a youth shelter and then into transitional accommodation.

He will be staying there until March next year and has applied for public housing hoping to find and secure a place to rent.

“I used to live with my mother. I have been living on my own for five months. I find it pretty easy. I pay for the house myself.”

Kai’s worker Kara says he has demonstrated maturity in his reliability, self- motivation, confidence and organisation.

“Kai has become an independent and capable young man whose resilience and determination has helped him to achieve his personal goals. He has learned how to budget and is now living independently with success,” said Kara.

Kai acknowledges he has accomplished significant changes in his day-to-day life and he is very proud of himself.

“I feel more independent. I wake up at 4 am and finish at 2:30 pm. I have a friend that picks me up and takes me to work so that makes it easier.”

Right now, he wants to focus on learning new things and gaining more experience.  He will complete his traineeship in Construction in February 2017 and plans to go back to school and then university to study Engineering.

“I’m basically doing everything related to construction now. In the future, I would love to travel a lot and buy a house,” he said.