Hi my name is Morris Pickering and I was a part of the IYMP in Rockhampton. My family are from the areas of Cherbourg, Woorabinda and Rockhampton.

After I graduated from high school in 2015, I was unemployed for a while, and then worked a few casual jobs while I played football locally. I tried the mines out as well and felt that that line of work was not for me. It wasn’t until I started working at a local high school liaising with Indigenous students that I knew I wanted to help out my people. I started volunteering at the local Indigenous Diversionary Centre Juwarki Kapu-Lug which is a safe place for our mob to sober up and offers accommodation, meals and other services for our mob that need them. My mother was working there at the time also, so I would go and help her out. My mother studied the Community Services course, so I got to see firsthand how important it was to have those skills and qualifications as a part of this job. I knew I wanted to study Community Services but did not know where I would start or who would help me.

I first heard about IYMP through the Murri grapevine with family, so in 2018 I decided to make contact with the Rockhampton IYMP. Me and my family set up a yarn with Aunty Davina Tobane, and it was here I learnt where I could enroll in a Community Services course, what I needed to sort out and all of the support I would have if I chose to study. We were able to do a career pathway together with the help and support of my family.

In September 2018, IYMP enrolled me into a Certificate III in Community Services course with Career Employment Australia in Rockhampton. During my course, IYMP were able to provide daily transport to attend class as I did not have my driver’s license. IYMP were able to help me with driving lessons as this is what was important to me if I wanted to become independent.

IYMP staff was always there for me for that mentor support to keep me motivated. IYMP were able to help with finding work placement and after some meetings, I was lucky enough to go back to Juwarki Kapu-Lug to complete my work experience hours.

In March 2019, I was able to successfully complete my Certificate III in Community Services and gain full time work with a local Indigenous organisation Darumbul Community Youth Services. Darumbul Community Youth Services is a not-for-profit organization providing a broad range of youth and family services in Rockhampton and across Central Queensland.

I am now employed fulltime in something I am passionate about as a Youth Worker – where I get to work with Indigenous youth aged 12 to 17 years old who are affected by drugs and alcohol. We run programs where we can offer support and interventions. I am qualified in my job and thanks to the support of IYMP, I was able to gain my driver’s licence as well.

Working in Community Services is something that I know I enjoy and I work with clients that need my help. It can be challenging some days, but I always remember where I come from and who helped me get to where I am today.

I would recommend IYMP to anyone who wants to study and gain qualifications to work in an area that they feel interested in. I always pop in to say hello to the IYMP staff at the Rockhampton office and I always tell my clients what IYMP is all about, so they can pass it on the old Murri grapevine.

I am proof that if you know what you want to do and where you want to work and make a difference, there is support available, you just have to make that call and go see IYMP Rockhampton for that yarn!