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Disadvantaged Youth Gain a Second Chance with Souths Cares

Souths Cares' Joint Support Program has continued to deliver great results for disadvantaged youth who come into contact with the Juvenile Justice system. The success of the program is typified by Lordo* (not his a real name) who recently begun his dream job as an apprentice diesel mechanic.

Lordo is an example of a young person who has faced a number of challenges throughout his childhood and early teens. His family fled Sudan as refugees to Egypt, where he was born, before migrating to Australia with his mother and settling in Merrylands in Western Sydney.

Lordo was referred to the Joint Support Program in September 2018 after coming to the attention of the Police and Juvenile Justice for stealing offences. Over the next three months, he worked intensively with Souths Cares staff to improve his confidence and employability.

With the support of Souths Cares, Lordo commenced a three-week pre-apprenticeship course in diesel mechanics, which led to work experience and then eventually a full-time apprenticeship with a substantial mechanics workshop in Blacktown.

A typical work day for Lordo starts at 7am and involves servicing and repairing transmissions and clutches on large commercial trucks, something he says has helped turn his life around.

"Since I have started this job everything has gotten better for me," he said.

"My relationships with my family has improved and they are all proud of the work I do. I wouldn't be where I am today without Souths Cares."

Souths Cares' Employment and Training Advisor, Brent Logan, acknowledged working with young people such as Lordo is a challenging yet extremely rewarding experience.

"A simple thing like getting a Tax File Number for Lordo was difficult as he came to Australia with no passport or I.D," Brent explained.

"But we overcame these obstacles together and it's been great to see Lordo achieve some of his aspirations over the past four months."

The Joint Support Program is delivered by Souths Cares in partnership with Parramatta Juvenile Justice Office. Since the program was launched in 2016, over 50 highly disadvantaged youth have been supported to commence employment.

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