Life is bumpy, but don’t give up

Melanie Snow is the Personal Industry Coach at the Sunshine Coast campus, but her role involves much more than you might assume. Melanie describes her job as being a conduit between the young people and their teachers and industry consultants. The health and wellbeing of AITC young people is her top priority, a task that has looked a little different in 2020.

Over the Learning From Home period, the AITC implemented a wellbeing survey for all young people. At the end of each day, young people were to rate their wellbeing, a score which would go back to College staff. Young people who reported a low score were contacted by Melanie, who provided some tips in keeping well and happy during the lockdown period.

“I tried to make sure they were having conversations with other people, and connecting with their friends online,” said Melanie. “I encouraged them to make new routines during the lockdown periods, and perhaps include a walk outside for some fresh air during their day, or picking up a new hobby such as learning to cook, play guitar, etc.”

When Queensland students re-entered school, Melanie reports seeing many of the young people struggle for the first week or so. “It was hard for a lot of young people to transition back to on-campus learning,” she said. “But after a little bit of time, they happily settled in again.”

Melanie believes that the most important way to create connections with the young people is to put herself in front of them often. “I am always around at break times and in classes. I actively work at building connections with the young people, asking them about their weekend. I need to be a more neutral person in terms of the curriculum, I’m not there to chase up homework or talk negatively to them. I try my best to be a positive light in their day.”

“It’s really important that I show respect to every young person, and it comes back in return. I spend time getting to know each of the young people, and talking with them about school, work, and anything else that’s on their mind,” said Melanie.

Melanie understands the importance of each young person having a support system at the College. “Their support system should be made up of their friends and staff. Some of the young people have come from schools that weren’t supportive of them, so it’s integral that we show them that support.”

Melanie’s favourite mantra to share with the young people when they are working on acquiring work experience is “to take the word ‘NO’ as Next Opportunity.” Life is bumpy, but embracing a “Don’t Give Up” attitude, staying positive and persevering will allow them to become the best versions of themselves.  Enjoy the journey instead of focusing on the destination.