Starting afresh in a new country is often challenging, especially so if language is a barrier. For Berat Kaya, those challenging days as a new migrant in Australia are behind him, with the 22-yearold now armed with an education and a new career as a youth advisor supporting other young people with connecting to society.
Growing up in Ankara, Turkey, Mr Kaya recalls spending his days studying, meeting friends and exploring various hobbies from photography to sport.
But life was not always idyllic – financial difficulties and inadequate educational options meant limited prospects for Mr Kaya, with his family deciding to migrate to Australia in 2018 to secure a better future.
As his family began building a new life in Melbourne, Mr Kaya quickly realised more challenges laid ahead.
“I faced racism because of my cultural identity and not knowing enough English,” he shared.
Mr Kaya enrolled in the Certificate IV in Spoken and Written English (10730NAT) at Kangan Institute’s Broadmeadows campus to improve his language skills and social connections.
What he didn’t expect was for the course to also set him on a career path he loves.
“Kangan has really friendly teachers and students and it helped me a lot,” he shared.
“When some community workers from the Brotherhood of St Laurence visited our classes, it changed my life in a good way. I started to participate in their workshops and events, which made me more confident about being myself and speaking English.”
After completing English studies, Mr Kaya moved on to certificate courses in business and community services, and is now studying the Diploma of Youth Work.
A deep passion for empowering young people and giving back to community also inspired his participation in various youth community development projects and volunteer roles in Kangan Institute, Brotherhood of St Laurence, Hume City Council and VicRoads’ TAC L2P program.
He also received numerous accolades to his name, including the 2019 Kangan Institute Guide Dogs Victoria Inclusivity and Accessibility Award and 2021 Hume Young Citizen of the Year.
Mr Kaya now has a job he loves, with his initial connection with the Brotherhood of St Laurence leading to employment as a youth advisor with the organisation.
“I work with young people and try to motivate, encourage and connect them with society. I also create workshops and projects for youth,” he said.
“I love being able to help people. When I first arrived in this country, I was lost, but with the help of youth workers I found my path and now I can stand on my own feet. With this work I can give back to the community.”
Kangan Institute delivers a range of English courses for students of non-English speaking backgrounds. For eligible migrants and humanitarian entrants, these courses may be undertaken through the Australian Government’s Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) which provides free English training.
Lead educator Cathy Kakoliris says English courses at Kangan Institute provide students with more than language skills – they also offer vital support for students hoping to transition into further studies or employment.
“Students often gain more than language skills through classes,” said Ms. Kakoliris.
“Through strong partnerships with the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Hume City Council, Arabic Welfare, Services Australia, Foundation House and Spectrum, we offer a range of additional programs to assist students with their settlement in Australia, employment preparation and pathways for tertiary studies.”
Learn more about Kangan Institute's English courses.