Winner

2021

YOUTH WORK CHAMPION

ZAKIA PATEL

Zakia is the regional managing director of the Multicultural Hub Canberra & Regional NSW, managing multiple teams and supporting young people at M.Hub in Civic. She is a strong, caring youth worker and leader, with an ability to make young people feel comfortable to express their needs and views, especially when facing cultural barriers which can be difficult to navigate.

Zakia is a member of the Multicultural Youth Affairs Network, leading discussions and advocating to ensure CALD young people have their needs met, as well as the Youth Worker Practice Network Advisory Group, who are currently reviving the Youth Work Code of Ethics and ensuring youth workers receive the training and support they need.

Zakia has a unique ability to connect with young people from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds. She understands the many challenges that are faced by young people and their families who are newly arrived to Canberra, or first and second generations, and she role models inclusiveness and non-judgemental youth and family work to the young people and families who access her service, as well as her team. Zakia always has a smile for young people, making them feel welcome and safe. She fosters trust – in herself, her team, and the sector– through clear communication and a willingness to always listen and build understanding.

Her work and programs are evidence informed – based on research, consultation with the communities who engage with her service, and the experience of the other youth and community workers around her. Throughout COVID she ensured that her and her staff had the information and tools they needed to ensure vulnerable young people and families remained connected to their communities.

Zakia makes an incredible contribution to the youth sector, going above and beyond her role. She is a member of the CYFSP workforce development committee, which identifies and addresses training needs and gaps in the youth and family sector. Through MYAN she is a strong voice and advocate for the needs of the multicultural youth sector.

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