Ian Goudie - Community Services
2013 Runner Up Australian Vocational Student of the Year
I lived for years on the streets and couch surfed. I was one of the kids that never thought they'd get anywhere in life.
This experience inspired me to study community welfare, and I enrolled in a range of community services diplomas at CIT.
While I was the owner of a gay nightclub in Canberra, I saw a lot of underprivileged young people with nowhere to turn to, and was inspired to do something.
It reminded me of my own background as a child. The persecution you go through when you're gay is huge – there's just nowhere for you to go in Canberra.
Over a glass of chardonnay, some friends and I talked about our own experiences - about what we went through, and wondering why there wasn’t an organisation or somewhere to go to. We figured we were all intelligent people, so why don't we do something about it.
I put together a group of people and formed Diversity ACT, with the view to open a community service centre in Canberra so that LGBIT people who are at risk have somewhere to turn.
We applied for government funding, taking three weeks off study and work to put together the submission. The government really liked it, and we were given a $100,000 start-up grant plus a place to work out of in Kambah.
To launch, we held a 'Coming Out' gala, with 720 people attending, and we launched a 1300 support number. Through the connections I made in organising the event, I ended up being invited to visit a LGBIT organisation in the US, and I was honoured to meet US President Barack Obama.
I feel privileged that a Canberra student has achieved what I have achieved. I wouldn't have been able to do it without the teachers at CIT. The encouragement they give you is huge.
I'm just a humble student from CIT Woden and I'm quite ecstatic with what I've achieved and done.