Volunteer Spotlight

Meet Melinda

Schools Industry Partnership, Vanessa Perkins

Meet Melinda

Melinda is one of our amazing Inspiring the Future Volunteers. We asked her to answer a few questions to tell us about why she joined the ITF team and some advice to inspire young people today.

How long have you been an Inspiring the future volunteer?  I’ve been a volunteer since my older brother shared an ITF link on his Facebook page. That was back in 2017.
What made you want to sign up to volunteer with Inspiring the Future? 
My passion besides design has always been young people, connecting talent to the right employer, networking and hobby career advising for kids I know! I even looked into becoming a careers adviser for a high school. I am studying to become a trainer and assessor instead.

What is it about volunteering with Inspiring the Future that you really enjoy?
I enjoy interacting with the young and upcoming workforce and providing them with practical skills and feedback which can better equip them for their desired workplace. Sometimes it takes a fresh pair of eyes (not a teacher or parent) to quickly establish where a student shows potential…without bias. I love sharing my life experience wherever possible.  

Has your career journey taken the path you imagined it would?
It is hard to imagine being a working mother until you actually become one. I imagined myself working in an architect firm a lot longer than 2 years and putting my babies in daycare from 6 months old 5 days a week, but I enjoyed motherhood way more than anticipated and still have them home. This is why I now own my interior design business. Being your own boss provides the flexibility to be at home with kids when they’re small. I did picture myself with a big house and being filthy rich by my mid-thirties in Neutral Bay, but instead I have a 1/2 acre in the country and realise that riches are measured in much more than my financial status.  I spend after I save, and believe in a life done simple without crippling debt.
What is something about your career journey that has surprised you?
I am surprised that at 35 years old, I am still dreaming and brainstorming about my career path and what I could be when I grow up, instead of being in 1 workplace for 10+ years like a lot of my friends have been. I have my dream job right now, but I still want more adventure and bigger vision!

What is one piece of advice that you would share with young people today? I would tell 15-18 year olds to get a hold of your Kindy school report (or any you can find) to read. It’s very telling of what your raw skills, personality and talents are and where to build on your weaknesses. For example, in Kindy I was showing abilities in art and music and social interaction, but was lame at maths and science. These qualities are still true today, BUT I am very interested in science now and use math for my CAD programs and construction. You can build on knowledge and skill, no matter who you are. Ask industry workers who are happy in jobs you’re interested in (very important to ask grown-ups who are joyful in their work, not dissatisfied in their career) and see what advice they can give you. I asked an ambo in a Hungry Jacks aisle whether my teenage brother-in-law should become one and he said “Best job in the world. 100% he should do it” This can mean everything, so ask lots questions and do research. Kids have so much information available at their fingertips. Extracting that information is another skill to learn.