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Larry’s story

YSAS Member  

They call it the Experience Paradox: to get a job, you need experience; but to get experience, you need a job. Larry De’Corso understands the problem well. After completing their Master of Social Work, Larry spent months looking for work in their chosen field of youth mental health. Despite good grades and a clear passion for helping others, offers were hard to come by. That’s when Larry found out they’d been accepted into the early careers program at headspace Collingwood.

Run in partnership with YSAS, the program is designed to give graduates the experience they need to excel as a clinician at headspace, Australia’s leading youth mental health organisation. For Larry, it was the perfect opportunity to start the career they’d been working towards. “It’s really hard to get into brief intervention counselling without experience, but the grad program was a great way in.”

In addition to giving Larry a leg up, the program gave them the support they needed to transition into the workforce. “Usually when you step into a role like this, you’re suddenly thrust into the workforce, which is a massive shift from studying,” they explain. The graduate program, Larry says, helps to smooth that transition. “You get to learn about the system, and about the services in a way that’s really helpful.”

“There’s a lot of space for learning too, which is really helpful as a graduate,” Larry says. “There’s always someone to ask a question if you’re unsure about anything. I’ve learned so much in my time here; the learning and the growth have just really been accelerated.”

While Larry started their placement in Collingwood, they plan to complete the final half of the two-year program in Sunshine. “I’m really looking forward to it,” Larry says of the move, noting that headspace was flexible enough to grant them a second metro placement. (Graduates are technically supposed to split their time between urban and regional areas, but Larry, who is non-binary, said they felt safer in a metro context.)

Larry recently discussed their experience in the Graduate Program with ABC News.

As for what happens after Sunshine, Larry remains open to what may come. “I’ll definitely stay working with young people,” they say. “It’s just such a valuable space to work in.”

Larry De’Corso

YSAS headspace Graduate Youth Worker

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