Young people give back through the International Service Project

Young Australian Industry Trade College apprentices have raised over $120,000 to construct homes for struggling families and communities in Cambodia in 2019. The energy behind this generosity is the International Service Project (ISP), run every two years at the College. The ISP is a central part of the curriculum teaching young people how to give back and serve communities less fortunate than themselves.

Established in 2013, ISP teams have has visited Cambodia four times, having built houses, roads, water filtration structures and playgrounds. Over $450,000 has been raised and invested over the past six years. The AITC works with New Hope Cambodia within their Community Development program to ensure the ISP team is providing support in the areas that are most severely impacted.

The team recently returned from two weeks in Siem Reap where they helped do maintenance work on a school, built and painted a toilet block, and erected homes and a shade structure for the community. “The young people who came on the International Service Project benefit greatly from taking part in the experience. For most, it is a new experience, and while they will experience some culture shock, they are ultimately humbled to know they were part of something so important,” says Lee Smith, Senior Advisor of Education Services at the AITC.

“The young people gained a lot from the ISP, including a sense of altruism, and perspective. It made them realise how much more there is to life than what’s in their small bubble. The young people were very respectful of the culture, particularly during a local ceremony we were invited to. We notice changes in attitude in the young people. They happen in a way that is quiet but profound. A few days into the trip they start to realise how little the community has, and how lucky they are.

“There are always moments of reflection. In this years’ trip, it came when we were in the bus driving back after seeing a family move into a house we had just built. The young people were silent on the bus ride, and we knew they were thinking about the significance of what had just happened,” Mr Smith added.

The ISP team is made up of young people and staff from the College, as well as AITC’s industry partners who take the students on for work experience or for apprenticeships and traineeships. This year, young people from the Redlands and Gold Coast campuses joined the team. “The International Service Project epitomises the AITC values,” says Mr Smith “We are proud to offer this program for young people at the College as an international aspect of our Gift of Giving program, where we donate our time and resources more locally.”

The AITC would like to extend a huge thank you to our corporate sponsors, Totally Workwear (Gold Coast region), and Kennards Hire.