While undertaking life-enriching travels, Luciano Cornelius was always drawn towards a calling – he just needed to follow.
"Looking back, I know now I needed to ‘live a bit’ before I settled on what I wanted to do.
I had itchy feet and was keen to travel so I joined Camp America as a camp leader, initially because it was a cheap way to travel to the US – but I discovered I could make a career out of helping young people reach their potential. The kids were from all walks of life, abilities and cultures.
When I came back to Australia I started studying arts twice at different unis, before I deferred, moved to Darwin and worked with Indigenous kids from remote communities.
By 24 I was back in Melbourne and ready to get stuck into my studies, so I started with VU Polytechnic’s Diploma in Youth Work (see Certificate IV in Youth Work). I then took the course pathway straight into year two of VU’s Bachelor of Youth Work.
A great deal of my course was also recognised by my previous job experience so I got credits towards my Diploma.
I did a placement at Heads Together, an organisation that helps young people with acquired brain injuries, and I was lucky enough to go on a study tour with them to Queensland. Another placement was with Marist180 community garden – helping to teach life skills and woodwork.
For my third practical placement, I worked part time in an outside of school hours care organisation while I continued to study. All these practical experiences gave me the confidence and skills to work with young people.
I’m now a teachers’ aide at two primary schools – it’s fulfilling and rewarding to support kids with behavioural issues and disabilities. I’m helping to bridge the gap between the kids, their teachers and their classmates."