Youth Work Degrees Australia

Youth Work Degrees Australia

Youth Work Degrees Australia

Youth-Work-Degree-Australia

The height of professional youth work in Australia is the humble degree program. Three years of your life where you get to learn all the ins and outs of the profession of youth work in Australia. There are currently six youth work degrees in Australia, each with their own distinctive points.

If you are considering studying a youth work degree in Australia then you need to weigh up the pros and cons. A helpful first step is our podcast “How do I become a youth worker“. Another point to make is that all youth work degrees in Australia a regulated by the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA) which assures the quality of Australia’s higher education sector. All the courses have had to meet rigorous and exacting standards to be able to be endorsed including a review by industry experts and academics. So whichever course you choose, know that you are getting a comprehensive course which has been developed to meet the highest standards of education.

So here is a breakdown of the courses (in alphabetical order) which are available to you if you are after youth work degrees Australia:

Australian Catholic University

Australian Catholic University runs a Bachelor of Youth Work from their campus in Melbourne. This is what they say about the course:

Youth Work is an exciting and challenging career involving working for and with young people in a variety of fun and rewarding ways. The key thing that differentiates youth workers from other community service workers is that young people are their primary concern. Youth work acknowledges the social and cultural environments within which young people live and helps foster young people’s emotional and social development.

In addition to the core youth work units, students can choose between minors in counselling or sociology. You will receive valuable practical experience in working with young people, in addition to the theoretical insights and practical competencies needed for dealing with the needs, problems and aspirations of young people.

Find out more...

Eastern College Australia

Eastern College Australia runs a Bachelor of Applied Social Science (Youth Work) from their campus in Wantirna in Melbourne's Eastern Suburbs. This is what they say about the course:

Youth workers improve the life outcomes for young people. We encourage their personal and social development while helping them to become active citizens.

In our Bachelor of Applied Social Science (Youth Work), you will gain a strong foundation for working with young people. You will gain specialist knowledge to support young people experiencing difficulties from a trauma informed care perspective. To get you ready for a challenging and rewarding career you will spend 70 days on professional work placements.

Our degree is taught from a Christian worldview perspective, and is delivered by experts in the field of youth work. You will receive guidance from specialist youth workers and experienced sociologists, community development workers, social workers and other relevant areas. You will graduate with the knowledge, skills and experience to support young people as a reflective practitioner.

Find out more...

Edith Cowan University

Edith Cowan University runs a Bachelor of Youth Work from their campus in Joondalup,  Western Australia. This is what they say about the course:

Provides a comprehensive program of study in the essentials of youth work as an embedded practice within community work. The course includes specialist units in youth work, plus complementary studies in community work.

Students can choose complementary areas of study such as Aboriginal and Intercultural Studies, Addiction Studies, Community Work, Criminology, Psychology, Counselling, Visual Arts, Media and Communication, Events Management, and Outdoor Adventure.

Find out more...

Tabor

Tabor runs a Bachelor of Applied Social Science (Youth Work) from their campuses in Adelaide and Perth. This what is they say about the course:

Young people are actively involved in shaping our world. So, what will this world look like for all of us in the future? How will life be better for citizens of the next century? The Tabor Bachelor of Applied Social Science (Youth Work) is developed around a central, optimistic ideology – that young people enrich society. Such enrichment requires unity and collaboration. Human experience is fundamentally relational and Tabor believes that any society is made better by the presence of multiple voices.

The Tabor program is designed to promote the critical need for a collective voice in shaping our future world. This belief, grounded in the social sciences and our own spiritual values, drives us to play a role in the ongoing struggle for justice and to help young people excel in an interconnected society.

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RMIT University

RMIT University runs a Bachelor of Youth Work and Youth Studies from their campus in Melbourne's CBD. This is what they say about the course:

The Bachelor of Youth Work and Youth Studies explores complex issues affecting at-risk youth, such as homelessness, radicalisation, poverty and mental health. It encourages critical debate and investigation of youth in relation to space, digital landscapes, culture, religion, family and the law.

The role of a youth worker is diverse, with many challenging and rewarding career opportunities. This program aims to examine and foster the environments in which all young people can thrive and feel confident, connected and safe.

Find out more...

Victoria University

Victoria University runs a Bachelor of Youth Work from their campus in Melbourne's Footscray Park Campus and recently in NSW. This is what they say about the course:

In our youth work degree, you'll learn to help young people develop through activities that are enjoyable, challenging and educational.

You'll graduate with:

  • a solid professional foundation for working with young people
  • specialist knowledge to support disadvantaged groups
  • clarity on the services available to teenagers and young adults
  • practical management skills
  • leadership skills.
Find out more...

Youth-Work-Degree-AustraliaCan we suggest that if you are in youth work or are looking to be a youth worker and you want to be in the sector for more than a couple of years then you need to have a youth work degree in Australia. The knowledge, practice wisdom and experience you gain will hold you in great stead for many years. Whichever degree you choose know that you are going to be learning from the best in the sector.

Remember that each of these degrees have their own take on how to do youth work, but the core business of working with young people to encourage, empower and engage young people is the same.

Let us know who you choose to study with!

Aaron Garth

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe, Esther, Niamh and son Ezra.

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Let’s talk about reflective practice.

I was in a youth advisory committee meeting for a local council last week and we asked each young person what issues they are passionate about. One of the answers really stood out to me, a young person said “I am passionate about recognising and understanding my privilege and using it to give a voice to those less fortunate than me”. How many 14 year olds do you know that can reflect so deeply on a topic such as privilege? I was astounded and inspired.

This got me thinking.. when have I been required to be critically reflective about myself and my work? Whilst there is some reflective practice involved in team meetings, supervision (that’s a whole other story in itself) and trainings, I don’t recall a time where the main focus was on critical reflective practice. With this in mind I decided to get in touch with you, our Ultimate Youth Worker community, and find out what your thoughts are on reflective practice.

Here are some of the responses:

“Youth Workers should use this process to talk about the things that are affecting you personally. What has been a situation with a client that are made you uneasy, or made you frustrated or angry, or made you nervous, or that you have ‘hit the wall’ with a client. You should unpack that and get in touch with what is going on, it will help you.”

– Paul McDonald, Anglicare Victoria.

“Reflective practice is extremely important in youth and social work to avoid experiencing vicarious trauma. A few years into my career, I worked with a particular family that caused me to suffer vicarious trauma. I was young myself and their story was particularly harrowing and frustrating. I wasn’t in the headspace, both professionally and personally, to truly acknowledge how this situation was affecting me. I had one-on-one supervision but at that time it wasn’t adequate, and I would stay late every day, long after everyone else had gone home. After many months of this, the trauma seeped into my personal life and eventually I realised what was happening. As my career has progressed and I have now managed a team, I see the vast importance of reflective practice, both individually and as a group/team.

Within our team and site, we have one-on-one supervision, group supervision with a child psychiatrist, group supervision with an occupational therapist who is a child trauma specialist, as well as practice reflection as a site. These are absolute non-negotiables now and are compulsory for all required staff to attend. The work we do is tough, and without these safe spaces to be able to reflect on what we do and how we do it, as well realise how our work affects us, we cannot do the best work for the people we support.”

– Sammy Hoppe, Launch Housing.

It’s great to see positive comments on reflective practice, it goes to show that there are some structures and processes out there that work really well to support staff in their personal and professional development. However I have come across a large number of youth workers who express the opposite concerns about the support they are getting with regards to reflective practice. In our experience at Ultimate Youth Worker, we find that this is partly due to a lack of a clear model for critical reflective practice for youth workers. One particular model that we find effective in our practice is Jan Fook and Fiona Gardiners framework for critically reflective practice, outlined in their book ‘Practicing Critical Reflection’.

In short, the framework is broken down into three phases and is usually facilitated in small groups, but it can also be used in a one-on-one setting. Firstly, the participants are asked to go through the process of ‘unsettling assumptions’. In this stage, the participant is asked to reflect on their practice and how it is affecting them, but they are also asked to unpack their assumptions based on their social and cultural context. The reason the term ‘unsettling assumptions’ is used is to ‘shake up’ the thinking of the participant in a way that they start to experience a degree of discomfort and explore hidden assumptions that they normally wouldn’t. Which in a supportive and clinical environment can foster greater and deeper learning. The second phase focuses on linking the learnings from the previous stage with theory and practice relevant to the individual and their work. In the third phase, which we argue is potentially the most neglected part of reflective practice, the participant goes through the process of linking their changed awareness with changed actions. This third phase is the most important part of reflective practice.

In their book, Fook and Gardiner state that “The climate and culture of the critical reflection process are probably as important as the tools and techniques used.” They continue by describing how important it is for the facilitator to create an environment where participants acknowledge the potential pain, risk and vulnerability involved with reflecting. I would love to say that I’ve had such a detailed and structured reflective practice session in my years as a youth worker, but unfortunately this is not the case. A story that I’m sure is all too familiar. What are your thoughts on this model? Would you want it to be implemented in your workplace? Share your comments in the section below.

If you would like to read more about the model, we suggest reading Practicing Critical Reflection and Being Critically Reflective: Engaging in Holistic Practice. If you feel you need more support in this area, contact our Director, Aaron Garth at aaron@ultimateyouthworker.com.au to have a short discussion about how we can support you.

Thank you to all of our amazing community members who have sent through their thoughts and ideas on reflective practice, we really appreciate your input.

Until next time, watch out for the crocs!

 

 

Jessy Hall

Jessy is the Community Engagement Coordinator at Ultimate Youth Worker. Jessy has been working as a youth worker since 2014 in a variety of different roles. His passion for youth work began whilst volunteering on a YMCA program for young indigenous leaders, after being inspired by the strength and passion of the young people on this program he immediately began his studies at Chisholm Institute of TAFE where he completed a Diploma of Youth Work. Since then, Jessy has expanded his knowledge and skills in the field by working in residential care facilities, being part of an Australian first evidence based foster care program (TFCO) and partaking in various trainings in youth mental health and other relevant areas to his work. Jessy currently lives in Melbourne but is about to embark on the journey of a lifetime and drive around Australia in a four wheel drive with his partner. He plans to work along the way and explore the different opportunities available for youth workers in Australia. Jessy has dreams to one day start his own organisation dedicated to developing the next generation of socially engaged and passionate young people.

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Code of Ethics

Youth Work Code of Ethics

Youth Work Code of Ethics

Youth Work Code of Ethics

I remember when I first started as a youth worker. I knew that ethics were important, that they underpinned the work that I did and that a youth work code of ethics existed in Victoria. However, being the gung-ho youth worker that I was, I was more interested in diving head first into the nitty gritty stuff rather than sitting down and dissecting how a code of ethics might better inform my practice. Over the years I have spent a lot of time reflecting on and refining the work that I do and this has led me to spend a lot more time developing a more rounded and ethical approach to my work. Whilst I would argue that I naturally act within an ethical framework, it can be helpful to know the “guidelines” set out by the industry professionals in your area. This is where a code of ethics comes into play. Having a code of ethics can guide you in the right direction with regards to professional development, increase your longevity in the field and help you to fully understand your roles and responsibilities on a micro and macro scale.

Earlier this year we spoke with Professor Howard Sercombe about his work developing a youth work code of ethics in Australia. I’ve listened to it and summarised a few key learnings that I drew from it, however I do encourage you to listen to the podcast and then have some discussions with your colleagues about the information raised. Here is what stood out for me;

  • Whilst we can perform our job ethically without necessarily having a code of ethics written down, having it written down allows us to be more conscious of the work we do and why we do it.
  • It gives us a common language to use with each other and allows us to define ourselves and our role to other professionals.
  • There is no nationwide code of ethics. Some states are opposed to a code of ethics, however those states that do possess a code share ones that are similar in their makeup.
  • A code of ethics is not a list of rules. Youth Work is such a broad field and the circumstances we face are so varied that having one set of rules would not work.
  • A code of ethics can be described as “terms of engagement”; core principles that govern our overall approach to working with young people.

Youth Work Ethics

With this mind, I have taken some of the key responsibilities from “The Code of Ethical Practice for the Victorian Youth Sector” and outlined ways in which they inform my day to day practice as a youth worker. The Victorian Youth Work Code of Ethics states that “The youth work practice responsibilities describe key elements of what youth workers do when guided by the youth work principles. They are the essence of youth work practice and are important in youth workers fulfilling their responsibilities. The youth work practice responsibilities are not placed in order of importance, but are all of equal value”.

Young People as the Primary Consideration.

This means thinking about, then doing, what is best for the young person. So even if other people are involved in your work—like the young person’s parents or another worker—you always make decisions in the best interest of the young person”.

I hear all the time “we have the young person’s best interest at heart” or many other variations of the same sentiment. But what does it actually mean in practice? I regularly try to think back to when I was their age and how I would have responded to certain situations, then put myself in their shoes. Being able to understand a young person’s situation from their point of view allows you to truly consider what is best for them at that point in time. From this point of view, you can connect with them on their level and act as an advocate.

As a residential youth worker, a prime example of “young people as the primary consideration” is the Looking After Children documents (LAC). The Department of Health and Human Services states that “Looking After Children (LAC) is an outcomes-focused approach for collaboratively providing good care for children placed in out-of-home care. In Victoria, LAC provides the practice framework for considering how each child’s needs will be met, whilst that child is in out-of-home care. It is used for managing out-of-home care in accordance with the Best Interests Case Practice Model cycle of information gathering, assessment, planning, implementation and review”.

Parts of the document are completed by the caregivers, and parts are completed with the young person to ensure they have a say in the outcomes they want from being in out-of-home care. The goal setting element of this document is extremely important and can be an empowering process for the young person if done correctly.

Boundaries.

The youth work relationship is strictly professional. Professional boundaries intentionally protect both the young person and the worker. Youth workers will maintain the integrity of these limits”.

Some of the young people I work with make it their mission to find me on social media. For the most part they are successful. This has led me to finding ways to conceal my online identity and I have even deleted some accounts to avoid causing any issues. For the most part this is not a real issue though, as the boundaries are very clearly set out in the beginning.

This is such an important responsibility to adhere to when working with young people. Depending on the service and your role, you have to walk a fine line between between being a “friend” and being a “worker”. Professor Howard Sercombe states that the relationship between a youth worker and a young person creates a space of safety and security that can make it easier for them to disclose. As a youth worker you connect with the young people on their level and form a close and trusting relationship, but you must also make sure that they understand your role and the responsibilities you have. For instance, the legal responsibilities you have in terms of mandatory reporting. As stated above, this is for the protection of the worker and the young person.

Cooperation and Collaboration.

This means you work together with other people to get the best results for young people. For example, you might involve another service or the young person’s family if it’s appropriate (and the young person gives consent)”.

To practice this responsibility ethically would involve putting differences aside and always having the child or young person’s best interests at the forefront of your practice. As the age old saying goes “it takes a village to raise a child”; the same applies for the social services sector and the young people and children we support. We are constantly liaising with family members, other services and government organisations to ensure the best possible outcomes for the people in our services.

I am currently involved with a program that is a prime example of cooperation and collaboration. Treatment Foster Care Oregon (TFCO); a foster care based program, includes four key professionals that are working with and for each young person around the areas of individual therapy, skills coaching, family therapy and education. Every week, we meet with the young person, their carers and their family, as well as have a clinical meeting. In this meeting, professionals share ideas, make sure we are all working towards the same end goal and develop a fully collaborative plan for each young person’s time in the program and beyond. This model displays transparent regard for the young person, what they want to achieve and how. This is extremely important when working with other professionals and / or other organisations, as the young person must firstly give consent but also have ownership over their case plan.

Recognition of Indigenous Peoples.

Youth workers recognise that we live on the traditional lands and waters of the Indigenous peoples of Australia. They recognise that culture and connection to land and community is a right for Indigenous young people and that they have a right to cultural safety. Youth workers will be respectful of Indigenous culture at all times and recognise the importance of culture as it relates to Indigenous young people’s self-esteem and sense of identity

In 2015-16, Indigenous children aged 0-17 received child protection services at a rate around seven times that for non-Indigenous children, and they were 10 times as likely to be in out-of-home care(Australia’s Welfare 2017: in brief, AIHW).

The above statistic is alarming. In my work I am ten times more likely to work with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) child or young person than a non-ATSI child or young person. This highlights how important it is to have a deep understanding of how to appropriately and ethically work with ATSI people.

I was lucky enough to begin my journey as a youth worker within an ATSI leadership program in Melbourne. Through this I was able to learn a lot from local ATSI young people and elders about the importance of culture, not only in their lives, but in the lives of non-ATSI people too. One important lesson I took from this experience was that ATSI culture is so expansive and differs all over Australia. So in order to be culturally sensitive in my practice I have to familiarise myself with the history and customs of each different community I am working with.

There are many ways in which having an ethical practice with regards to recognition for Indigenous people can be achieved. A few simple but important things that can be done are;

  • Knowing the traditional owners of the land you live/work on and display a flag or sticker to show your acknowledgement.
  • Perform an acknowledgement of country at the beginning of meetings/events.
  • Participate in cultural awareness training at your workplace.
  • Know the history of Australia and the details around its’ invasion.
  • Know the appropriate language and terms to use when talking to and about ATSI people.
  • Attend events in support of ATSI rights and recognition.
  • Familiarise yourself with laws and important documents that relate to the history and recognition of ATSI people. Such as the “Bringing them Home Report”, and more recently the “Uluru statement from the heart”.

Knowledge, Skill and Self-care.

This means you commit to ongoing learning. For example, you might read new research or take special training. Self-care means you’re aware of and take responsibility for your own physical and emotional wellbeing. This is important because you help young people best when you feel well yourself. Your organisation also has a responsibility to support your professional development and self-care

At Ultimate Youth Worker we have spent a lot of time speaking about self-care. Our last blog post was entirely dedicated to self care as it is such an important part of ethical practice. 

Knowledge is also part of this section of the code and is just as important. Within all the work that I do, knowing the legal boundaries and expectations of my role is just as important as knowing organisational ones. Trainings such as those from Youth Law have formed an integral part of my understanding around mandatory reporting and age of consent laws. As these laws can change, it is your ethical duty to ensure you are up-to-date with the laws that affect your role.

As part of my own quest for knowledge, skill and self care, I participate in the World Youth Worker Network. It is a facilitated peer support network run by Ultimate Youth Worker solely dedicated to the longevity of youth workers through personal and professional development. The network has given me a deeper understanding of my core values, my purpose and goals in life. It has played an integral part in ensuring that I have the best ethical practice possible.

The other responsibilities in the Victorian code of ethics are privacy and confidentiality, duty of care, social context and anti-oppressive practice: non-discrimination, equity and self-awareness. As stated at the start, no single responsibility is considered more or less important than the other, and most of them are overlapping in how they affect our day to day practice. Are you familiar with the code of ethics for your sector? Do you think it’s important to have a code of ethics and apply it in your everyday work? We would love to hear your thoughts and feelings on this topic. Leave a comment on our socials and get the conversation started!

If you would like to read more about different codes of ethics in Australia, you can access them in the links below:

The Code of Ethical Practice for the Victorian Youth Sector.

Australian Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics. 

Western Australian Association of Youth Workers Youth Work Code of Ethics.

Youth Ethics Framework for Tasmania.

NSW code of ethics.

South Australia Code of Ethics.

Jessy Hall

Jessy is the Community Engagement Coordinator at Ultimate Youth Worker. Jessy has been working as a youth worker since 2014 in a variety of different roles. His passion for youth work began whilst volunteering on a YMCA program for young indigenous leaders, after being inspired by the strength and passion of the young people on this program he immediately began his studies at Chisholm Institute of TAFE where he completed a Diploma of Youth Work. Since then, Jessy has expanded his knowledge and skills in the field by working in residential care facilities, being part of an Australian first evidence based foster care program (TFCO) and partaking in various trainings in youth mental health and other relevant areas to his work. Jessy currently lives in Melbourne but is about to embark on the journey of a lifetime and drive around Australia in a four wheel drive with his partner. He plans to work along the way and explore the different opportunities available for youth workers in Australia. Jessy has dreams to one day start his own organisation dedicated to developing the next generation of socially engaged and passionate young people.

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A five step guide to self care

Self Care

In my experience, “self care” in the Youth Work industry can be used as a “buzz word” or just a box to tick on your supervision notes. In my first year as a youth worker that was exactly how I thought. But after a while I began to experience mental health issues as a consequence of not looking after myself. This is when I started to take self-care more seriously. I have benefited enormously from putting time and effort in to my self-care and that’s why I have created this guide. With more than 20 articles in the Ultimate Youth Worker archives dedicated to self-care, I have found some of my favourites and compiled a five step guide on how to stay on top of your self-care.

Step 1. Make a plan.

Step one is nice and easy; settle in to a cosy chair somewhere with a beautiful view, find a pen and paper, get yourself a nice warm cup ‘o tea and listen to the Ultimate Youth Worker Podcast – 001.

In the podcast Aaron & Kat talk about how to live a balanced life. They go through a step-by-step process of how to create your very own “self-care stool”, each leg of the stool representing an integral element of life that needs to be tended to in order to live a balanced life and reduce vicarious trauma. If one leg of the stool is weak or off-balance, then the whole stool is unstable.

It’s no coincidence that the first step in this self-care guide is the topic of our first ever podcast!

If we think in terms of first-aid, the very first thing you are taught is to prioritise personal safety over everything else, even the casualty. The same applies for Youth Work. You can’t provide best care to another person without caring for yourself properly first.

Take the first step, listen to the podcast below and create your self-care plan.

Ultimate Youth Worker Podcast – 001 A Balanced Life

Step 2. Take action.

“There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” – Will Rogers

In response to my self-care plan, step two for me was finding out how I could keep myself composed during times of stress and how I could deal with the aftermath of stressful situations at work. The answer was meditation (as well as adequate follow-up and supervision of course). But it wasn’t just one short meditation course, it was several courses backed up with a consistent daily practice. Hard work and effort, but the reward was well worth it.

Meditation worked for me because I found calm in the process and the results were fruitful. But not everyone finds meditation helpful. In that case, start to put your self-care plan in to action and find out what will help you fulfil the different elements of your self-care stool.

In the article below, Aaron talks about the many benefits of meditation and expresses his regret of giving it up too easily when he first tried it.

Youth worker self-care: Meditation

Step 3. Know when to seek help.

Step three is about recognising when you need to seek the help of others. In your self-care plan you would have listed a few people who are responsible for keeping you accountable. We work in a tough industry, we are often verbally and sometimes physically abused, we see and hear things that can have a detrimental effect on our mental health and we are really good at brushing it aside as “part of the job”. Vicarious trauma is a real threat to the longevity of Youth Workers and we need to make a concerted effort to seek help when we are showing signs of burn out.

This may involve sitting down for a chat with a mentor, a friend or a partner. It could even mean using your employee assistance program to see a Psychologist. Find someone who can assist you with finding your centre and then work together to put a plan in place to minimise the likelihood of burn out in the future.

In Aaron’s story below he talks of some of the signs and symptoms he was experiencing that led to him seeking help.

I’m a Slut…No one will love me!!!

Step 4. Is it time to take a holiday?

Circumstances can sometimes get in the way of taking holidays, but when it starts to effect the quality of your work then you need to prioritise a break. After one year as a full-time residential care worker where I was picking up extra casual shifts and taking every personal development opportunity possible, I was burning out pretty fast. It was time to bite the bullet and take a break.

How are you going to recharge your batteries enough so that you can come back refreshed and more prepared to deal with the job? For me it was in my self-care plan, spend time in nature. This, coupled with meditation and having a clear mind from not being at work for a while gave me a strong platform to return to work and give my all to the people I was working for. So, it is time for you to take a holiday?

Is it time to take a holiday?

Step 5. Accountability, Accountability, Accountability!

Ive said it three times because it’s one of the underlying and most important principles of self-care. As discussed in the podcast in step one, having someone to keep you on track and accountable for your self-care is the best way to do it successfully. Your self-care stool relies on it. Sit down with a friend and do your self-care plans together, then set a date for a review and do that together as well. Good luck!

To read more articles and insights in to self-care from the Ultimate Youth Worker team, click the link below.

http://ultimateyouthworker.com.au/tag/self-care/

Visit the link below to read more about different self-care methods. Feel free to print out the document and place it on your workplace noticeboard.

Ten self-care tips for Youth Workers

Jessy Hall

Jessy is the Community Engagement Coordinator at Ultimate Youth Worker. Jessy has been working as a youth worker since 2014 in a variety of different roles. His passion for youth work began whilst volunteering on a YMCA program for young indigenous leaders, after being inspired by the strength and passion of the young people on this program he immediately began his studies at Chisholm Institute of TAFE where he completed a Diploma of Youth Work. Since then, Jessy has expanded his knowledge and skills in the field by working in residential care facilities, being part of an Australian first evidence based foster care program (TFCO) and partaking in various trainings in youth mental health and other relevant areas to his work. Jessy currently lives in Melbourne but is about to embark on the journey of a lifetime and drive around Australia in a four wheel drive with his partner. He plans to work along the way and explore the different opportunities available for youth workers in Australia. Jessy has dreams to one day start his own organisation dedicated to developing the next generation of socially engaged and passionate young people.

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What drug is that?

What drug is that?

What drug is that?

What drug is that? The top 5 youth drugs in Australia.

In todays post we have scoured the depths of Youtube to find some great videos with information to help you answer that annoying question ‘what drug is that?’ We have found info on  some of the most common drugs that young people use and will link you in with some resources that you can use in your practice with young people.

The National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2016 gives some valuable information about drug use and patterns in Australia, we have used this as a guide to choosing which drugs to look at today. You can download the report in the link below:

https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/illicit-use-of-drugs/ndshs-2016-detailed/contents/table-of-contents

 

What better way to start than with a light hearted look at the possible drugs our young people have access to in todays world.

Alcohol.

Alcohol is the most widely used drug in Australia and for a lot of young people it can be a rite of passage and an important part of social inclusion in the adolescent years. With the adolescent years being an integral time for brain development, the neurotoxins in alcohol can potentially cause significant harm if not used safely. That is why it’s important to make sure that young people understand the effects of alcohol and are armed with as much information as possible to consume safely and look after each other when they do. Headspace have created this video and an information page that is easily digestible for young people, albeit a little cheesy. But who doesn’t like cheese.

Here is a great handout for young people: https://headspace.org.au/young-people/understanding-alcohol-for-young-people/

Cannabis (Marijuana).

Next up we have Cannabis, or Marijuana, Weed, Choof, or a myriad of other street names that we would all be familiar with. Also one of the most common drugs used within Australia, with under 30’s being the highest users. If you aren’t familiar with the below video, it was a $350,000 (failed) attempt by the NSW government to raise awareness about the effects of Cannabis on young people. Whilst it did provide us with a few laughs, there are questions about its’ effectiveness of informing young people.

Headspace, once again, provides us with a no nonsense two page A4 fact sheet that is a handy resource for any professional working with young people: https://headspace.org.au/young-people/understanding-cannabis-for-young-people/

What is in cocaine?

The National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2016 states that young Australians (aged 14–24) first try cocaine at 19.2 years on average and it is the second most commonly used illegal drug after cannabis. So what is cocaine? In short, cocaine from its’ original form as a coca leaf, goes through about 8 processes and is mixed with at least 11 harmful and poisonous ingredients along the way, including gasoline and cement. It is also common to mix cocaine with other drugs including amphetamines. By the time cocaine reaches the street there is no way to know what has actually been used to mix and cut the drug. The above video gives a brief overview of what is in cocaine.

If you would like some information about the effects of cocaine and links to services’  head to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation website provided below.

https://adf.org.au/drug-facts/cocaine/

Methamphetamine (“Ice”).

Methamphetamine is a man-made stimulant drug and it is a more potent form of the drug amphetamine. When it is in its crystalline form, the drug is called crystal meth or “ice”. Whilst both drugs cause similar symptoms, methamphetamine has longer-lasting and more harmful effects on the central nervous system. These characteristics make it a drug with high potential for widespread abuse. Consequently, it has been thrust in to the public eye on a large scale in recent times due to the devastating affect it can have on the individual and the wider community. In 2016, the Australian government launched the Nation Ice Action Strategy as an attempt to reduce the supply and demand and to increase education, prevention, treatment, support and community engagement. There entire strategy is funded for just under $300 million which will be divided amongst different programs working towards tackling both alcohol and drug problems Australia wide.

National Ice Action Taskforce Findings

MDMA (Ecstacy).

MDMA is the main ingredient in the party drug Ecstasy and the most common form of ecstasy used comes in either pill or tablet form. The average amount of MDMA in a “pill” is 70-125mg. When ingested, MDMA causes the release of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which plays a vital role in mood regulation and helps defend against mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. If our serotonin stores are depleted it can have a debilitating effect on our sleep, memory and learning, temperature regulation, and some social behaviour. In Australia, there is currently a big push for “pill testing” to become legal at music festivals as a harm reduction method. Due to the amount of unknown and potentially dangerous ingredients used in the production of MDMA, especially pills, this method is seen by some professionals as a step towards reducing drug related deaths and overdoses at festivals. For further information on this and MDMA visit the links below.

https://www.harmreductionaustralia.org.au/people/news/

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/mdma-ecstasymolly


Further information.

For further information on the 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey as well as a detailed summary of what you can do to support young people in accessing treatment options for alcohol and other drug related issues, read the article below by Ultimate Youth Worker Executive Director Aaron Garth.

http://ultimateyouthworker.com.au/2017/07/drug-treatment-and-young-people/

Also, check out our blog for other recourses on this topic and many more.

Aaron Garth

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe, Esther, Niamh and son Ezra.

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Mental Health Resources

Youth Mental Health Resources

Mental Health Resources

There are so many youth mental health resources…

Where do you start when you need youth mental health resources?

We get asked all the time where the best resources are. Well finally we have created a resource just for youth workers. All the resources here have been check and tested by our team. These youth mental health resources are recommended by leading practitioners and organisations who work with young people from all over the world. We will continue to update this post so come back again and again to get more resources. All the links to the books take you directly to amazon so you can pick up a copy for yourself.


General resources

Carr-Gregg, M. (2010) When to Worry & What to Do about It. Camberwell, VIC, Australia. Penguin Books

Carr-Gregg, M. (2005) Surviving Adolescents: A Must Have Manual For All Parents. Camberwell, VIC, Australia. Penguin Books

Websites

www.beyondblue.org.au

www.headspace.org.au

www.youthinmind.info

www.reachout.com.au

www.parentingstrategies.net

www.nimh.nih.gov


Depression ResourcesDepression resources

Parker, G and Eyers, K (2009) Navigating Teenage Depression: A Guide for Parents and Professionals. Crows Nest, NSW, Australia. Allen and Unwin

Johnstone, M and Johnstone, A (2008) Living with a Black Dog: His Name Is Depression. Sydney, NSW, Australia. Pan Macmillan Australia

Purcell, R; Ryan, S; Scanlan, F; Morgan, A; Callahan, P, Allen, N and Jorm, A (2013) What works for depression in young people 2nd Ed. Melbourne, VIC, Australia. Beyondblue

Johnstone, M (2005) I Had a Black Dog.Sydney, NSW, Australia. Pan Macmillan Australia

Evans, DL and Andrews, LW (2005) If Your Adolescent Has Depression or Bipolar Disorder: An Essential Resource for Parents (Adolescent Mental Health Initiative). New York, NY, USA. Oxford University Press

Websites

www.youthbeyondblue.com


Anxiety ResourcesAnxiety resources

Foa, EB and Andrews, LW (2006) If Your Adolescent Has an Anxiety Disorder: An Essential Resource for Parents (Adolescent Mental Health Initiative). New York, NY, USA. Oxford University Press

Schlab, LM (2004) The Anxiety Workbook for Teens: Activities to Help You Deal with Anxiety and Worry. Oakland, CA, USA. New Harbinger Publications

Phillips, N (2005) The panic book. Concord West, NSW, Australia. Shrink-Rap Press

Wever, C and Phillips, N (2006) The secret problem. Concord West, NSW, Australia. Shrink-Rap Press

Websites

moodgym.anu.edu.au

www.whatworks4u.org

www.brave-online.com


Eating Disorder ResourcesEating Disorders resources

Walsh, BT and Cameron, VL (2005) If Your Adolescent Has an Eating Disorder: An Essential Resource for Parents (Adolescent Mental Health Initiative). New York, NY, USA. Oxford University Press

Costin, C; Schubert and Grabb, G (2011) 8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder: Effective Strategies from Therapeutic Practice and Personal Experience (8 Keys to Mental Health). New York, NY, USA. WW Norton and Company

Schmidt, U; Treasure, J and  Alexander, J (2015) Getting Better Bite by Bite: A Survival Kit for Sufferers of Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorders. Abingdon, UK. Taylor and Francis.

Cooper, PJ (2006) Overcoming Bulimia Nervosa and Binge-Eating by Prof Peter Cooper (29-Oct-2009) Paperback. London, UK. Robinson Publishing.

Websites

www.thebutterflyfoundation.org.au

www.eatingdisorders.org.au

www.howfaristoofar.org.au

www.feedyourinstinct.com.au

www.b-eat.co.uk


Psychosis Resources

Psychosis resources

Crompton, MT and Broussard, B (2009) The First Episode of Psychosis: A Guide for Patients and Their Families. London, England. Oxford University Press

Gur, RE and Johnson, AB (2006) If Your Adolescent Has Schizophrenia: An Essential Resource for Parents (Adolescent Mental Health Initiative). New York, NY, USA. Oxford University Press

Eyers, K and Parker, G Eds. (2008) Mastering Bipolar Disorder: An Insider’s Guide to Managing Mood Swings and Finding Balance. Sydney, NSW, Australia. Allen and Unwin


Drug and Alcohol ResourcesDrug and Alcohol resources

Dillon, P (2009) Teenagers, Alcohol and Drugs: What Your Kids Really Want and Need to Know about Alcohol and Drugs. Sydney, NSW, Australia. Allen and Unwin

Websites

www.checkyourdrinking.net

www.theothertalk.org.au

www.yodda.org.au

www.adf.org.au

www.adin.com.au

www.reduceyouruse.org.au


Suicide Resources

Suicide resources

Websites

Apps

BeyondNow Convenient and confidential, the BeyondNow app puts your safety plan in your pocket so you can access and edit it at any time. You can also email a copy to trusted friends, family or your health professional so they can support you when you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts or heading towards a suicidal crisis.

BeyondNow is free to download from the Apple Store or Google Play. If you don’t have a smartphone or would prefer to use your desktop or laptop, BeyondNow is also available to use online.

Aaron Garth

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe, Esther, Niamh and son Ezra.

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Podcast 013: Youth Work and Power

Youth Work and Power

Podcast #13: Youth Work and Power

In this episode of the Ultimate Youth Worker Podcast Aaron speaks with Ben Lohmeyer from Tabor College of Higher Education about his research into youth work and power.

Ben Lohmeyer is a critical youth sociologist and youth worker. He is a PhD candidate at Flinders University and the Program Coordinator of the Bachelor of Applied Social Sciences (Youth Work) at Tabor. Ben’s research interests include: youth, governance, violence (personal, structural and neoliberal) and youth work practice.

Youth Work and Power with Ben Lohmeyer

Ben has worked across a range of youth work settings including alternative education, alternative accommodation and peace building. He has experience facilitating restorative justice processes, designing and facilitating peace building programs as well as grant and policy writing. Ben has is currently completing his PhD in Sociology at Flinders University focussing on youth and neoliberal violence.

In todays episode Aaron and Ben speak about youth work and power. How do youth workers recognise power issues? What can youth workers do when power is imposed by neoliberal structures? How can youth workers show genuine concern in the face of power imbalances? Youth workers must wrestle with the concept of power as it is a significant issue for the young people we serve and in doing youth work with integrity.

You can find more information about Ben’s publications at someyouthfulthoughts.wordpress.com or follow him on twitter @LohmeyerBen

Today’s resources

Here are links to some of Ben’s latest articles that have bearing on todays podcast.

Thanks for Listening!

To share your thoughts:

To help out the show:

  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
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Aaron Garth

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe, Esther, Niamh and son Ezra.

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Youth work with a criminal record

Criminal record and youth work

Dealing with a criminal record

Back in 2013 we wrote a post that dealt with how to approach youth work when you have a criminal record. You can read the original article here: Police records and public perception: Youth work with conviction. We had just had a number of students who had struggled to find placements due to their criminal record. These students were questioning if they had made a huge mistake. Basically they asked something like, “Aaron, will I ever be able to get a job in the sector or should I just quit now?” The unfortunate answer to this is it depends.

This week the Australian Community Workers Association wrote a post titled “Pursuing community work when you have a criminal record“. In the post, which we think is fantastic, the crew at ACWA have reiterated all the points we made almost five years ago. First, they cover what a security check reveals about you. Second, how employers will determine your suitability. Finally, how to handle your history during a job search. This article brings together some really great thoughts, particularly the final section. Being open and honest about your criminal record and what you have done to restore your community standing is a really important step. It helps employers to understand you and to make informed decisions as to your suitability for employment.

Unfortunately, there will always be people and organisations who see a criminal record and take that to mean you are unsuitable. These people and organisations will judge you without the opportunity for explanation or recourse. Don’t let this stop you. As a judge once told me, “we need youth workers who have experienced the other side and have come back from the edge”. These youth workers show that it is possible to restore community perception and make a great life for yourself.

ACWA end this very important piece by stating, “At the end of the day, we all make mistakes and deserve a chance to put our past behind us. The community services sector supports people to reach their potential and this is as true for aspiring workers as it is for clients“. We couldn’t agree more!!!

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Aaron Garth

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe, Esther, Niamh and son Ezra.

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Podcast 012: Youth Drug and Alcohol

Youth Drug and Alcohol

Podcast #012: Youth Drug and Alcohol

In this episode of the Ultimate Youth Worker Podcast Aaron speaks with Dr. Kat Daley from RMIT University about her research into youth drug and alcohol abuse.

Youth Drug and Alcohol with Dr. Kat Daley

Dr Kat Daley is a Lecturer in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies. She researches issues of marginalised youth including, substance abuse, self-injury, homelessness, gender and sexual abuse. Her book, ‘Youth and Substance Abuse’, was published in 2017. Kathryn teaches courses in social research and policy. Prior to academia, she worked in youth alcohol and other drug services. 

In todays episode Aaron and Kat speak about why young people tend towards use that is problematic and long term. They look at the particular patterns in young women with problematic drug use that arose from Kat’s research, the key issues surrounding problematic use in young men and how these two groups approach dealing with their substance use problems.

A special thanks to Kat for taking time out of her very busy schedule to be our first academic on the cast. A core part of our mission with the Ultimate Youth Worker Podcast is to make academic work more accessible to the masses. If you enjoy this cast don’t forget to leave a comment in the section below and share the link with your colleagues.

Today’s resources

Thanks for Listening!

To share your thoughts:

To help out the show:

  • Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and I read each one.
  • Subscribe on iTunes.
  • Buy a book

Aaron Garth

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe, Esther, Niamh and son Ezra.

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drug treatment and young people

drug treatment and young people

For data nerds like us at Ultimate Youth Worker it is always an awesome day when new research comes out… Particularly, research on drug treatment and young people. Today the Australian Institute of Health and Wellbeing released their latest report, “Alcohol and other drug treatment services in Australia 2015–16”. This is the most up to date data on Alcohol and Other Drug treatment throughout Australia with the last data coming from 2012. So here are some thoughts from the data about drug treatment and young people.

In summary throughout 2015–16, approximately 796 alcohol and other drug treatment services provided just over 206,600 treatment episodes to an estimated 134,000 clients. The top four drugs that clients sought treatment for in this period were alcohol (32% of treatment episodes), cannabis (23%), amphetamines (23%), and heroin (6%). The median age of clients in Alcohol and Other Drug treatment services is rising, from 31 in 2006–07 to 33 in 2015–16.

While the media have hyped up certain drugs as being at epidemic proportions throughout Australia this report shows that the same four drugs; Alcohol, cannabis, amphetamines, and heroin have remained the most common principal drugs of concern for clients since 2006–07. Nationally, alcohol was the most common principal drug of concern in 2015–16, accounting for 32% of treatment episodes. Whilst ICE is considered by the police and the media to be the drug of concern currently it is notable that it is third in the list when it comes to clients seeking treatment with Alcohol and Cannabis use as the top two drugs.

The proportion of episodes where clients were receiving treatment for amphetamines has continued to rise over the last five years to 2015–16, from 12% of treatment episodes in 2011–12 to 23% in 2015–16 or an increase of 175%. This data can be construed many ways: as more people seeking treatment, more treatment options or just more use of amphetamines by the community. The data on the reason behind this increase in treatment seeking is limited. For example, during this same period cannabis treatment episodes also increased by 40% without the same media furore. It should also be noted that heroin treatment episodes fell by 15%, and alcohol treatment episodes fell by 6%.

What does this mean for drug treatment and young people

Cannabis is the leading drug of concern for young people seeking drug treatment in Australia. Particularly, for young people aged 10–29, cannabis was the most common principal drug of concern. Those aged 10–29 were most likely to be receiving drug treatment for cannabis, which was the principal drug of concern for 3 in 5 (60%) clients aged 10–19. In comparison 31% of those aged 20–29 sought drug treatment for Cannabis.

Alcohol is still the leading cause of concern to young people in Australian drug treatment services. The 2016 National Drug Strategy Household Survey found that a significant proportion of the Australian population drank at risky levels— 1 in 5 (17%) aged 14 and over drank at a level that put them at risk of alcohol-related harm over their lifetime, while 1 in 4 (26%) drank at levels that put them at risk of harm from a single drinking occasion at least once in the previous 12 months. Young people find themselves seeking treatment for alcohol use less than their adult counterparts 20-39 years of age.

Amphetamines such as ICE are a concern responsible for approx. 23% of treatment episodes…But not as much as the media report. In 2015–16, more than two-thirds of clients receiving treatment for amphetamines as a principal drug of concern were male (69%), and about 1 in 7 clients were Indigenous (14%). Clients with a principal drug of concern of amphetamines were most likely to be aged 20–39 (74%), followed by those aged 40–49 (16%) Less than 10% by proportion of clients were aged 10–19 years of age.

Education is the most important tool you have available in helping young people make a decision (get our Decisional Balance Worksheet) to seek treatment. Helping young people to understand their use patterns. What their drug of choice does? How they personally react to their drug of choice? What treatment options are available to them? More knowledge is better. Not just facts and stats but stories as well. Meet with Alcohol and Other Drug counsellors and find out what they do. Help them to do a decisional balance worksheet (get one here). Being armed with knowledge makes the step to treatment easier. In my experience nothing ruins a treatment episode faster than when a person doesn’t know what they are in for.

If you are working with a young person it is worth noting that when it comes to treatment options, Counselling is the most used treatment option by those seeking support for their Alcohol, and Other Drug treatment. Detox and rehabilitation are useful tools however these must be used in conjunction with counselling for best practice intervention.

It is also useful to remember that the median treatment age is now 33 years old. This means that half of people seeking treatment are under the age of 33! If you work with young people who are using substances know that your work with them is definitely planting a seed. They may not seek treatment while working with you but it is likely that they will before they turn 33.

What can you do: drug treatment and young people?

First and foremost it is important to have a solid understanding of where your young person is at. The transtheoretical model proposed by Prochoska and DiClemente is the best way to address this (You can watch a video about this model here). Better known as the stages of change this framework helps you to determine what stage your client is in:

  • Pre-contemplation
  • Contemplation
  • Preparation
  • Action
  • Maintenance
  • Relapse

If your young person is pre-contemplative then more conversations need to be had. These can be difficult conversations if you don’t have a framework. A useful framework for understanding the nature and extent of drug-related difficulties is Roizen’s Four L’s model, which considers the impact of drug use on four major spheres of a young person’s life. These are:

  • Lover: Problems associated with a person’s relationships, family, friends, children, lovers etc.
  • Liver: Anything to do with a person’s health including physical, psychological or emotional health problems
  • Lifestyle/livelihood: Problems which relate accommodation, work, finances, education, recreation etc.
  • Legal: Any problems associated with the law including criminal or civil proceedings.

The preparation phase is the most important in our view. This is the stage when you start making steps towards dealing with your use. It is in this stage that you want to discuss the options available when it comes to drug treatment and young people. In Australia we have a reasonable system for services to young people (We could always have more services, better trained staff and more funding…But what we have is ok). As shown in the data above linking a young person with an Alcohol and Other Drug counsellor to discuss treatment options is essential. It also frees you up to be their support person when the challenges arise.

In our experience it takes many steps for young people to get on top of addiction, honour the process as much as the destination. Rehabilitation means significant change and that is difficult. Take your time, don’t rush. Use the well-worn harm minimisation approach and you will be most effective in supporting your young person.

For some great tool on drug treatment and young people check out http://yodaa.org.au/

 

Aaron Garth

Aaron Garth is the Executive Director of Ultimate Youth Worker. Aaron has worked as a youth worker in a number of settings including local church, street drug and alcohol outreach, family services, residential care, local government and youth homelessness since 2003. Aaron is a regular speaker at camps, retreats, & youth work training events and is a dedicated to seeing a more professional youth sector in Australia. Aaron is a graduate of RMIT University and an alumnus of their youth work program. He lives in Melbourne with his wife Jennifer & their daughters Hope, Zoe, Esther, Niamh and son Ezra.

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