Today is a big day for 18-year-old Lachie Sims, who has been selected to represent south-west youth at the Youth Employment Forum in Canberra.
On Wednesday the Portland teen will meet the country's top politicians, including the Prime Minister, to talk about the youth employment sector and the challenges south-west youth face.
"I'm not too nervous about it, the idea of it is to talk about the issues that young people face, so a lot to do with employment and what we can do to help them find work," he said.
"Being in a regional area it's definitely harder for young people, there's lots of different challenges we might face say to those who live in more metropolitan areas.
"For example, there's so many things that we young people can't do in Portland and have to travel to Warrnambool for and that's really hard, especially for young people who might not have their licence."
He said he would also talk about his involvement in Transition to Work, an employment service that supports young peopled aged 15-21 secure work.
There's lots of different challenges we might face say to those who live in more metropolitan areas.Lachie Sims
In 2018 Lachie was working casually for a mechanic and unsure what to do next, joined the program in February this year through Brophy Family and Youth Services.
"The place where I was doing my apprenticeship closed down, and then I just stuck in limbo for a bit I guess," he said.
"I ended up coming to Brophy, I had sort of an idea of what I wanted to do, but they helped me figure out what I really wanted to do - which is community service.
"I'm not exactly sure what I want to do in that field, but I want to do stuff to help young people. I like what the guys at Brophy do."
Since commencing Transition to Work, Lachie attended regular coaching sessions with his youth development coach, Briony Harrison.
"I am so proud of how far Lachie has come in eight months and hope he can use this experience to show other young people how Transition to Work can help and guide them towards their chosen career," Ms Harrison said.
He also participated in Spark! an experiential learning program that provides Transition to Work participants the opportunity to meet local employers and gain an inside look at local businesses.
It was during the Spark! program that he met Kyle Byers, from Glenelg Shire. Kyle's story sparked Lachie's interest in a career in community services.
"When I started in Transition to Work I wasn't sure on my career direction. My coach helped me to gain full time employment at Portland Disposals and I am keen to look at study options in the future," he said.
"I would recommend Transition to Work for any young person looking for career support and direction."
He is excited to represent youth from the south-west in Canberra. He joins two other young people from around Australia.
He will also meet Employment Minister Michaelia Cash, Youth Minister Richard Colbeck and local member and Education Minister Dan Tehan.
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