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Ella goes from strength to strength and lives independently

Ella joined the Premier’s Youth Initiative in 2019 while living in Out-of-Home Care and attending her local high school. Since then she has experienced numerous transitions and achieved many milestones on her way to living independently. Ella, with her Education and Employment Mentor, Tyler Martin, tells her story. 

ELLA: I grew up in a really small, rural town. There’s like, 900 people in the town I’m from. I went to the local high school, I loved it. I always knew I wanted to go university and that it was definitely something I wanted to achieve. I was ecstatic when I got the email saying I’d been accepted into CSU [Charles Sturt University], but I was by myself, so I walked all the way to school so I could tell everyone. My teachers were so excited for me. I got a scholarship from high school as well as some scholarships from the Uni for accommodation. I’m actually the first person in my biological family to go to university, but it meant moving from the town I’d grown up in. 

It was very nerve wracking moving so far away from home, but I had a lot of support. James, from Veritas House, he’s my Personal Advisor, he helped me through the whole transition. And Tyler, she’s my Education and Employment Mentor. She’s really cool! My family aren’t close, so just knowing that James and Tyler are only a text away is comforting. Tyler even helped me land a job in my industry. I’m doing a Bachelor of Educational Studies and a job came up at an Out-of-School-Hours Care program. She helped me through the application process, and helped me prep for the interview.  

TYLER: Together we wrote a cover letter, and I helped her get her Working with Children’s Check, which was a requirement for the position. She was so nervous for the interview, so we practiced and practiced. After the interview, the employer rang me for a reference and said amazing things about Ella and how well she conducted herself in the interview. 

ELLA: When I found out I got the job, Tyler was the first person I called. I think she was more excited than I was; she was like screaming through the phone. Balancing work and study has been a bit tricky, but I’ve got tutors for all my subjects and that’s helped heaps. 

TYLER: Ella’s enthusiasm for work is admirable. Initially, she was set in thinking she had to say yes to every shift, but we worked together to find a balance and keep Uni a priority. As an Education and Employment Mentor I’m helping her to understand her rights and responsibilities, and to help her navigate employer expectations. Ella has a brilliant employer who supports her fully.  

ELLA: I love working with kids. My teachers helped me a lot towards the end of my schooling, and I’ve always looked up to them, so if I can become a teacher and I can give back a little bit then that’s really important to me. In the future, I’d like to move back home and become a teacher. My dream is to open a community centre and help support my community back at home. It’s just baby steps at the moment, but that’s my ultimate goal.  

TYLER: I have loved watching Ella’s confidence grow. She’s so passionate and excited about what she does. I enjoy having the opportunity to work one-on-one with clients like her to build a relationship, work through challenges and find opportunities together. It makes the biggest difference.  

ELLA: I want to say thank you to Veritas House. I don’t think I would have gotten where I am without them. A lot of people don’t realize what they do; I definitely didn’t know the extent of what they do. But it actually impacts young people’s lives; they actually help a lot. I probably wouldn’t even be at university at the moment and doing what I’m doing without James and Tyler.  

*Name changed and generic image used to protect privacy