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Youth justice internship reignites Georgina’s passion for study

10 November, 2021

UWA student Georgina Conti has helped shape strategies that support and empower young people in Western Australia through an internship at the McCusker Centre for Citizenship.

Georgina, a Bachelor of Science Psychology double major student, begun the internship position at the Youth Affairs Council of Western Australia (YACWA) at a time when she was feeling disconnected from her studies.

“Having lived regionally last year, I completed the majority of my degree online. I found it very challenging to be active and involved in my learning community,” said Georgina.

“After returning to Perth and hearing about the McCusker Centre for Citizenship internship program, I thought this would be a valuable unit to realign me with my passion for learning.”

Georgina’s intern role saw her undertake research into local, state and federal Government policy, as well as other agencies and organisations in the youth space, to produce strategic policy recommendations for YACWA that ensure the needs of young people are being best addressed in their policies and programs.

Her research had four key areas of focus: LGBTIQA+ youth rights, youth homelessness, access to sexual health care and multicultural youth facing systemic oppression.

Georgina said the internship was “eye opening”, learning about the multifaceted and interconnected issues facing young people in the community.

“Prior to my time at YACWA I was living in a world of ‘ignorance is bliss’. I instantly became more aware of the injustices facing young people with complex needs,” said Georgina.

“I view this personal challenge of facing my ignorance to be a positive breakthrough.  Now I can use my privilege and education to contribute to active change and progression for young Western Australians,” she says.

A highlight of her internship was working alongside YACWA’s lived-experienced youth advocates.

“YACWA ensure experienced and passionate youth are advocating and highly involved in their projects. It was a community of active change that I can't wait to be a part of and so grateful to be introduced to,” said Georgina.

YACWA Metro Programs Manager and internship supervisor, Ashton Kealy, said “Georgina played a valuable role in providing meaningful information on policy and strategic direction, which has enabled our teams to be better informed about Government priorities and how we can align together to get positive outcomes for young people.

“We have found hosting McCusker interns to be incredibly beneficial, not only to our day-to-day work, but also in enhancing our relationships with external partners such as UWA and young people studying at the university.”

Georgina is thankful for the internship experience and says it has helped her rekindle her passion for study.

“Through not only becoming educated in societal injustices but having the opportunity to be actively involved in the action for change, I now have a reignited passion for my education to further my service in this field of need,” she says.