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Youthworx Productions: Meet Matthew Thumpston

September 20, 2017

Last updated on March 16, 2021

After leaving home at a young age, Matthew Thumpston moved to Melbourne and pursued his love of media and photography. After completing media training with Youthworx, a social enterprise providing training and employment pathways into media production, Matthew is now working with the Youthworx team out on film and photography shoots and working out his next steps into the industry.

  • How did you become involved with Youthworx?

I left home when I was 14 and moved from Wodonga to Melbourne by myself at 17. I finished year 12 at Fitzroy High School and then went to RMIT to study a Bachelor of Arts & Photography. After that, I just wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and was looking for work, so I was linked in with a youth service agency. My case worker knew I was interested in media and had heard of the Youthworx program and recommended that I have a look. After checking it out for a day, I ended up joining up to do my Certificate III in Media. That was four or five years ago now.

  • What were some of the main benefits of Youthworx training?

Part of what makes Youthworx different is having a social worker in the class to help you to find your way, to help with day to day problems that come up. Being relatively new to Melbourne, having someone who knew the city better than me and who was linked in with services, meant she was able to get me help where needed.

I also wanted to continue studying photography and media after the Youthworx course, so one of the other areas where my case worker helped me was to get into RMIT where I’m finishing my Diploma of Photo Imaging this year. I think it’s helpful just to be able to have someone else there who’s able to help out with things you don’t know or fully understand. It’s pretty daunting trying to figure out what you want to do, applying for courses and understanding all the things you need to have, so having someone who’s knowledgeable in that area is a great help.

  • What drew you to photography?

I first started photography in high school. When I was going through school, I honestly didn’t think I’d make it past year 10. I wasn’t enjoying it, I’m not good with English, and I don’t like maths, all the key subjects I just didn’t enjoy. It wasn’t until high school that I got to try a couple of different subjects and I really got into photography and media. It was the first thing that I really enjoyed about school that kept me there.

I think with photography, practice helps, so I’ve done quite a lot of different things. I’ve always enjoyed shooting nice landscapes, I’ve also done some wildlife shots of birds and that kind of thing, and some studio fashion shoots. I quite enjoy all of it. There’s not really one area that I’m set on at the moment, I think that’ll come out more as I work in the industry.


Sunset Moon – Matthew Thumpston (image: Flickr)


  • What sort of projects have you worked on with Youthworx?

During my RMIT course, I worked at Youthworx as a production assistant, going out on shoots and working on real productions. Once Youthworx started to branch out into photography, I also started working on photography projects because I’d been studying it at uni. One of the things I love about working at Youthworx is the broad range of projects and clients we get to work with. When I was a production assistant, I’d be shooting short films at a primary school one week, then I’d be out at an event filming the next week. Being able to go from project to project and learn different skills and techniques is great, I like being able to do so many different things.

  • Where do you see yourself taking your media skills into the future?

I know I want to do photography, but I’m still figuring out what I want to do in the photographic area. For the moment I’m quite interested to stay at Youthworx. Once I’ve finished my course, I just want to take some time to see what’s out there and travel. Jon, the General Manager, has got some great plans for where he wants to take Youthworx, and for the moment I’m just going along at my own pace and enjoying the ride.

Youthworx Productions is a ST Certified social enterprise providing media production services that offer training and employment to disadvantaged or at-risk youth. Find out more information on ST Certification and buying from social enterprise.

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