Katikati's first youth employment coach hit the ground running in late February.
Melody Lamb is the face of a community-led initiative to support young people in transitioning to work readiness.
Melody is based at the Katikati Community Centre, but will also be spending time at Waihi Beach, and the surrounding areas, as well as Tamawhariua Health and Social Services and Katikati Taiao.
Her role as youth employment coach is providing coaching and support for young people around Katikati, Waihi Beach, and surrounding areas to develop their skills and confidence to ensure work readiness.
The role also includes connecting with local businesses to help bring about volunteer and work placement opportunities, as she will be facilitating a youth employability programme called Licence to Work.
"I've been in the role for a month now and I've really enjoyed the Katikati community that I have been able to engage with so far. The community here is welcoming, hospitable and supportive.
"I'm looking forward to seeing young people who may have fallen through the gaps gain skills and confidence around being employed, their abilities, and believing in themselves."
She also hopes to help with some of the local employment issues.
"There are a lot of local job opportunities but it's not easy for those jobs to get filled. I'm hoping to bring solutions to that as well."
Before taking up her new role in Katikati, Melody was living in Wellington.
She says she has worked with youth for more than 10 years now, which has included starting up her own charitable trust, helping young people grow and develop through skateboarding.
Melody says programmes such as Licence to Work are important because they're relevant to our young people and are very hands-on.
"They're designed to be engaging but also effective, and it includes whānau, community and businesses. It brings everything together.
"It's also important because the school structure is not for everyone.
"If anybody with a business wants to get involved in these programmes and help some local young people get work-ready or work experience, and potentially build a career, it would be great for them to get in touch
"Or, if you are a 16 to 24-year-old needing guidance on your pathway to getting into education, training or employment I would love to hear from you."
You can call the Katikati Community Centre (07) 549 0399 or email Melody at email@example.com.