“My mum worked very hard for us, working in many different places such as an almond factory, shoe factory and cleaning, just so we could go to school. Life was hard in Pakistan with my 4 sisters, my mum and I. We’d left my country Afghanistan in 1999, when I was only 3 years old, because of civil war, that’s why we ended up in Pakistan, away from our family and home.”
Omid Qayummi has been living in Corio since 2013. “Before I left Pakistan in 2013, I heard a lot about Australia and Melbourne. It was my dream to see this beautiful place one day! Now, I’m very grateful that I’m in this country.” Omid attended Northern Bay College where he also began to learn English. He graduated Year 12 in 2015. “I had some great years at Northern Bay with some great and very helpful teachers. I’m very thankful to them.
“After I finished Year 12, I was trying to find a job but language barriers made it difficult. I received help from Northern Futures to find a job in bricklaying at Key Stone Bricklaying.” Omid participated in Northern Futures’ Alcoa Foundation Global Internships for unemployed youth. “Being in a Trade is amazing. I loved it because I started traveling to all new areas in Geelong and meeting interesting new people.
“I’m so grateful to my boss Wayne Ellmar for all his hard work, knowledge and all he’s taught me, not just about physical work, but about his lived experiences. I have been nominated as ‘Apprentice of the Year’ for the past 3 years, as well as nominated in the ‘Work Skills Competition’.
“Throughout my apprenticeship, I have a lot of achievements. In the ‘Work Skills Competition’ I came 3rd in Geelong.” Once Omid has completed his apprenticeship in bricklaying, he has the aspirations to continue his work in the Geelong community, building houses to make Geelong “the greatest city of all.”
Story and photo: Brandon Dellow