The West

Youth worker to make a mark

Ryianna Koteka wants to make a difference in a young person's life.

The 30-year-old youth worker was unsure of her ambitions as a teenager and worked in a drycleaner and studied hairdressing before finding her calling.

"I got to the point where I needed to do something that was not only challenging but also meaningful," Ms Koteka said.

She studied for a diploma of community services at West Coast Institute from 2012 to last year before getting a job at Perth's Drug and Alcohol Youth Services.

"At the time I started studying I was a single mother and I wanted to be more influential for my son and work hard," Ms Koteka said.

"I felt like I wasn't meeting my potential. I always wanted to do something with youth because I had a colourful youth.

"It took one person to believe in me to change my ways and I thought I could be that person for someone else."

Ms Koteka said she would never forget a conversation with a youth liaison officer in high school. "Being an adolescent there are so many pressures on you - having someone to help is great," she said.

Her story is an example of the career paths on display at this year's Skills West Expo, which runs from September 18-20 at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The West Australian

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