Tim, Learning and Development Lead, ACSO

"At times it felt like putting your hand up against a tsunami, but small steps at a time, people can heal."

When I finished high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do. Mum and Dad were on my back, but I was just cruising around. I went to university for four days and then I dropped out.

After about 10 months my mum sent off an application for me to do an electrical apprenticeship. I think she was just trying to get me out of the house! After that I worked on commercial construction sites for six years to learn the trade. 

When I went overseas for the first time it was on a Contiki tour, and I did more traveling after that. It opened my eyes and when I’d go back to work, I found it hard to settle. The things people would say in the smoke shed – the racism and misogyny – I wasn’t comfortable. After a while I decided to get as far aways I could, so I applied for a volunteer program in Mongolia and taught English in an orphanage. This got me thinking that I wanted to do something more with my life to help people. I was 24.

Studying for my Diploma in Community Services I was a real fish out of water. But when a Youth Worker came in to talk at one of our classes, I was away. I knew this was where I wanted to be. I started reading more and began working in youth services, with migrant communities, then I moved to Kintore, Northern Territory to work with young people. It was a big transformation from where I had been.

I first started at ACSO in 2014 as a Forensic Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Assessor with a high-risk cohort. It was confronting and complex. I worked with people who had long offending histories and horrific experiences of trauma There’s a lot of history that’s in the mix when you’re trying to help people, at times it felt like putting your hand up against a tsunami, but small steps at a time, people can heal.

I’m now leading Learning and Development across ACSO and I’m really passionate about it. It increases our service delivery, can mitigate risk, build confidence, and support diversity and inclusion. Watching people grow and evolve like I did, it’s pretty cool.