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Life lessons

Some people just discover what they were meant to do through their everyday work. A natural coach and leader, Michael has been a taekwondo instructor for over 15 years. He teaches in Toongabbie in Sydney’s western suburbs.

“When I left school I got into motor trimming, and then into martial arts, the teaching side of martial arts became a bigger call. People came with different problems, and I seemed to have ideas, and be able to lend assistance. As the years went on I discovered the Accidental Counsellor course. I thought that would be a good way to help people,” Michael says.

Michael enrolled in the Accidental Counsellor course through the Uniting Institute of Education (UIE). The UIE provides nationally recognised qualifications in counselling, mediation and community services. It also delivers professional development across a range of industries from education, health and community services to law enforcement, financial, and the business sectors.

“That led to the first counselling course which I’ve now done and I’m now doing Diploma of Counselling, and it just keep growing, it keeps getting better and better,” Michael explains.

“To get into the diploma of counselling I needed over 200 hours, which my martial arts wouldn’t cover. As a result I ended up with Lifeline, and that in itself has been an amazing journey. I’m now a fully qualified crisis support counsellor. What an eye opening experience, "I work with Lifeline every fortnight,” he smiles.

An extremely energetic and earnest man, Michael gives the impression that life with all its challenges can be an amazing ride if we have the right support. It’s easy to see how his strength and positivity can become a tool of resilience for anyone he chats to.

“In my martial arts class the ages vary from 5 years to 60 years. I predominantly get a lot of teenagers and the HSC is a very stressful time for them. Sometimes they don’t want to take their problems home to mum and dad, sometimes they want to talk to someone they feel won’t judge them. The counselling course through UIE focuses on being nonjudgemental and listen to what the person is saying. And it is an incredible experience to know that they trust you,” he says.

Michael says emphatically, “I like helping people, and I don’t know why I do. But I’ve always been someone who defends someone that seems to be down. And I’ll take their side and help them up. And I hate seeing people stepped over.”

“I’ve now started my own counselling practice and it’s going quite well. Now through taekwondo, the students know and so are able to seek help if they need it.”

No matter your age or previous education, if you are looking to advance your career - or change it completely - now is your time.

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To find out more about the courses the Uniting Institute of Education offers, call us on 1800 864 846 or email ask@uniting.org. We'd love to hear from you.