Life’s Good

Eddie Nsanzimana and Nexus

Life’s motoring along pretty fast for 19 year old Eddie Nsanzimana from Rwanda.

He spent his childhood in a refugee camp in Tanzania after being forced to flee from the Rwandan genocide in the mid 90’s, before moving to Australia in 2006 with his mother and siblings. Eddie’s now studying Certificate IV in Community Services and has gained a full-time traineeship at Nexus Youth Centre in Horsham.

First living in Adelaide, Eddie remarked “It was all a bit new for us, just a little boy from a refugee camp, living in the big city”. Eventually the family moved to Horsham. “I never wanted to come to Horsham. I hated the idea of moving here. I asked what do teenagers do here?” he said. “I’ve been here for the last four years. Now I love this place. There’s no place I’d rather be than Horsham.”

Eddie has certainly fallen on his feet of late. “It was 18 months ago that I came across Nexus at the Careers Expo. I didn’t have a Structured Workplace Learning placement and my teacher encouraged me to try Community Services at Nexus. So I spoke to Alois and he said he’d love to take me on board, so I’ve worked here as part of my schooling every Tuesday from mid 2014 to the end of 2015.”

During that time Eddie assisted with organising events. “They let me lead a project- a camp at Lake Mungo in the outback for Young G and Freeza kids” he said. “The main idea of the camp was to get the multicultural Young G kids together with Australian kids to spend a whole week together and learn about each other and their cultures” he said. “Lake Mungo was crazy-no phone, no showers, no nothing for two days. I was surprised. The kids didn’t care about phones though and we just sat around the campfire talking and playing games. There was a bit of storytelling and it was amazing. We discovered a lot of talents in each other.”

Eddie’s now moved into a full-time traineeship at Nexus and is studying Certificate IV in Community Services after finishing Year 12 last year. “What I like about Nexus is the culture here-it’s really chilled.” he said. His favourite part of the job is the satisfaction he receives when an event comes together after lots of planning and organising. “It feels good seeing the reaction on the kids’ faces. Seeing them happy keeps me going” he said.

Eddie’s manager, Alois Kneibess had only good things to say about him. “Eddie’s been fantastic. He connects really well with the young people. I think it’s really good having a young person, on the staff in a training capacity. Work placements are a great opportunity to invest in a young person’s life and they bring a fresh dynamic to your organisation. As a youth centre, it’s good to be involved with young people that are starting to transition from education to employment. It’s exciting to have someone like Eddie on board- he’s dynamic and enthusiastic.”

“Eddie’s done a lot of work coordinating our Youth Week activities this week, working with different musicians, artists, logistics, catering, accommodation and transport,”Alois said.

Asked for his advice for other students thinking of doing a work placement, Eddie replied, “It’s all about having a passion and sticking your neck out. Sometimes you can fail but just keep trying. When you stick at it and keep going. It may lead to traineeships and apprenticeships. Just keep going and don’t give up.”

Some facts about Structured Workplace Learning

  • The minimum payment for students completing structured workplace learning is just $5 per day.
  • Students completing work placement are covered by Work Cover
  • A Working With Children Check is NOT REQUIRED if the student is over 15 years of age
  • If the student is under the age of 18 and paid less than $112 per week the employer is NOT required to withhold tax, collect a TFN declaration, issue a payment summary or payslip or report payment details to the ATO.
  • Structured Workplace Learning allows students to gain hands-on skills related to the course they are studying at school as part of their VET or VCAL qualifications
  • Placements for structured workplace learning can be undertaken in one week blocks or on a one day per week basis.

How do I find out more information?

Contact Structured Workplace Learning Officer/coordinator at Wimmera Southern Mallee LLEN by email or phone 5381 0122.