Multicultural youth from across Greater Western Sydney came together for the 20 Voices Youth Symposium on Education yesterday to break through barriers in Australia’s education system and build solid foundations for their future.
Hosted by the Youth Collective, the 20 Voices Youth Symposium provided a forum for young people to share skills and experiences, build new networks, and learn how to navigate the education system to work towards their career goals.
Covering a range of workshops and panel discussions, the symposium also featured a keynote address from NSW Australian of the Year Deng Adut, who shared his thoughts on education and his path to success as a renowned lawyer.
"Education opens the door to opportunities," Mr Adut said. "It’s the only way you can make change and be the person you want to be. Self-education holds the key to enlightenment and has the power to improve humanity — that’s what we should celebrate."
Addressing an audience of over 100 multicultural youth, Mr Adut also encouraged young people to work hard and embrace diversity in Australia.
"If you want to make change, be the person you want to be, but don’t discriminate and give back to humanity," Mr Adut said. "Expand your mind, and work on yourself."
SSI Youth Projects Coordinator Dor Achiek said the event provided a unique opportunity for young people from multicultural backgrounds to build critical skills and networks to support their future career path.
"Young people from multicultural backgrounds face many barriers to education," Mr Achiek said. "English is often not their first language; Australian education systems are unfamiliar to them; and it can be overwhelming to adjust to cultural differences while they’re still defining their identity in Australia."
"The 20 Voices Youth Symposium on Education sets the foundations for youth to identify goals, learn from others, and map a path for their future with the support of others. It enables them to consider what they want to achieve in life, and work towards their goals by accessing the appropriate services and support.
"Refugee and migrant youth deliver so much vitality and energy to our communities. They are inspirational entrepreneurs and budding community leaders, and it’s critical they receive the support they need to secure their path to success."
Held at the Fairfield Youth and Community Centre, the 20 Voices Youth Symposium on Education featured a live music performance, inspirational speeches from former refugees, and workshops covering a range of topics such as career planning and how to access academic and social support in the education system.
Participants also learned about SSI’s Youth@Work mentoring program for refugee and migrant youth, and had the opportunity to meet new friends in a welcoming environment.