Certificate IV Youth Work (CHC40413)
Ezekiel Ramo is an APTC alumnus from the Solomon Islands in pursuit of education which has taken him from being a young high school dropout to attaining an Australian qualification. He is now on the brink of completing his law studies at the University of the South Pacific (USP).
Ezekiel graduated with Certificate IV in Youth Work (CHC40413) from the APTC in 2016 and is in his final year undertaking a Bachelor in Law at the USP Emalus Campus in Vanuatu.
His journey began in 2005 when Ezekiel had to leave school at year 12 for personal reasons. He said that it was difficult to access further education and all his attempts to apply to a national university were unsuccessful. Instead of giving up, Ezekiel devoted his time to seeking alternative pathways and casual employment in various places in Honiara.
In 2008, he attended a one-year program at the local bible college of the Assemblies of God. After graduating, he returned to his home village where he worked with young people for a few years.
By the end of 2014, he was fortunate to work with the Solomon Islands Correctional Service and resigned a year later to study with APTC in 2016. At the time, he was still under probation and had taken a bold step to leave his job and pursue his dream.
“The experience I had while studying at APTC was an open approach environment that involved class discussions and presenting individual or group work to build confidence in public speaking. We had the opportunity to do community work with various NGOs, government bodies and other stakeholders that work with youths. Through the experience, I have progressively developed qualities such as public speaking and teamwork,” said Ezekiel.
He also recalls that as part of his studies, he undertook a six-month internship with the Department of Correctional Service Vanuatu (Probation Services).
“My role at that time was to work alongside senior probation officers who work with young juvenile offenders serving their sentences in the community under the supervision of their chiefs and probation officers. Thus, our role was to monitor them weekly and focus on implementing positive initiatives for these juveniles while serving their sentences in the community. For me, this was a new experience that has prepared me for my future endeavors.”
Given his APTC qualification and work experience, he was selected for USP’s Bachelor of Law Program (LLB) as a self-sponsored student in 2017 and was later awarded a full scholarship by the Solomon Islands Government in 2018.
“I applied separately for admission to the Law and Social Work degree, with social work as my first choice. However, to my surprise, I was not given social work, which I am pretty much comfortable with but was offered law which was my second choice. I was fortunate to be given admission based on the references given to me by APTC, the internship I had with Vanuatu probation services, and the youth work qualification recognised in Australia.” he said.
In August 2021, he was appointed as the Vice President of the Solomon Islands Law Students Association (SILSA) in Port Vila. The appointment is a proud moment for him.
Ezekiel commends his late father who is his inspiration and always spoke about the importance of education. Reaching this far was not an easy ride, but his determination to stay committed and on track helped him overcome many challenges.
“APTC is a life changer for me. If it wasn’t for this initiative given to Pacific Islands countries by the Australian government, many of us would not have reached where we are today. It looks small to obtain just a certificate, but that’s the stepping stone to achieving bigger things in life.”
With purpose and determination as his guide, Ezekiel has his sight set on the future along with a mapped-out plan on how to get there.
“After graduating from APTC in 2016, I set my goals that within 10 years I will complete my law degree and then seek an opportunity to do my two years master’s program in social work.”
As an APTC alumnus, Ezekiel encourages youths and adults who dropped out of school to reconsider as it is never too late to pursue education opportunities.
“Keep your goal in mind. Take the initiative to start pursuing your dream, stay focused and make sure you complete your goal. It might take years, but in life that’s how things work, just keep working hard and be patient with these assured words that what you sow you would reap when the right time comes.”
APTC is Australia’s flagship TVET program in the region. Since its establishment in 2007, APTC has trained more than 17,000 graduates, including over 2,000 Solomon Islanders with skills and qualifications for a wide range of vocational careers.