From Ucan2 program participant to CMY staff member: Milad’s journey

Milad Botani


Meet Milad, Administration Officer for the Youth Referral and Independent Persons Program, who has worked with CMY for almost four years.

With grandparents hailing from Turkey, Milad was born and spent his childhood in Iraq. A move to Syria at age 16 resulted in a two-year stint before migrating to Australia in 2012, just two months shy of his 18th birthday.

Milad was first introduced to CMY as a participant of the Ucan2 program when he was studying at Melbourne Polytechnic. Ucan2 is a mentoring program that provides additional support for young people, who are newly-arrived to Australia and from a refugee or migrant background. CMY works with committed volunteer mentors who equip young people with practical and life skills, at educational sites across Melbourne. Through conversations with mentors about work, study and lived experiences, Milad’s English language improved significantly.

“It was something different to just writing and reading. It made me feel a lot more comfortable to mix with other people who were from different cultures and backgrounds.”

Besides communication skills, Milad also gained valuable friendships through the program, catching up regularly with fellow Ucan2 participants and staff. He highlights the way the encouragement and support he received throughout his time in the program lifted his confidence to enter the workforce.

“[The mentors and staff] helped me realise that I’m job-worthy and job-ready, and that I could work in whatever field I liked. Sometimes you need that extra push and I definitely got that from them,” Milad says.

Since completing the program, Milad has completed a work placement at CMY, volunteered for the Finance team and has also completed a Business Traineeship, before landing his current position in the YRIPP team.

His Team Leader, Linden Smith says Milad is an integral part of the YRIPP team, “his diligence, commitment and sense of humour bring a bright light to the team, and help us all to strive for the better, particularly in following correct admin procedures!”

He hopes to pursue Business Management in the near future to help take his career to the next step, and also has plans to volunteer with Ucan2 so that he is able to give back to the program that helped him flourish.

If you’re interested in volunteering to make a positive impact, sign up at here.

Ucan2 is a program run in partnership between the Centre for Multicultural Youth and Foundation House, and is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services.