Werribee’s Cameron Iviiti traded in a life of crime for a brighter future.
He was selected to take part in the YMCA ReBuild program – a social enterprise providing training, coaching and employment pathways for young people from the justice system.
Program participants learn trades and skills with the aim of gaining employment in maintenance and construction.
Mr Avici, who was born in New Zealand, said his troubles started early.
“I came to Australia when I was really young,” Mr Iviiti said.
“I was surrounded by a heap of love.
“But growing up, a lot of the people that were around me and that I looked up to … my older cousins, brothers, were all involved in a life of crime.
“[My offending] went from fighting, to weapons … when things got really serious my brother was stabbed five times in the back.”
While serving time at Ravenhall Correctional Centre, Mr Iviiti decided to turn his life in another direction. “When I first walked into Ravenhall, I couldn’t believe it was a prison.
“Being at Ravenhall was a much more positive experience for me simply because they’ve got a lot of facilities and they’re there to help you.
“On the ReBuild program we built frames, we learned to fit a door, we learned to plaster a wall … things that I had no knowledge of.”
The YMCA ReBuild program manager Damian Carmody said Mr Iviiti was a “perfect example” of the program at work.
“The ReBuild program at Ravenhall works very closely with … clinicians who speak to us about prisoners that have shown signs of wanting to make a change,” Mr Carmody said.
“If they want to make a change, then we can teach them employment skills and life skills.
“Cameron came through our program in Ravenhall and we’ve employed him in commercial ReBuild and he’s now ready to go on and get full-time employment.”
Mr Iviiti has plans to enter the rail industry.
The YMCA ReBuild will receive $400,000 in support over the next two years, under a Westpac Foundation grants scheme.