Kevin?s goal is ?bloke friendly

By UTE SCHULENBERG

WHEN you ask Kevin Smith what he thinks of his new job, the answer is 'I'm excited'.

Mr Smith is the newly appointed men's worker for the Nambucca Valley Neighbourhood Centre (NVNC).

"I'm here to give blokes a bit of support and help them access services," Mr Smith said.

"We are creating a blokefriendly atmosphere here in the centre and I'll also be encouraging other areas to be more bloke friendly."

NVNC has been looking for the right man for the job for some months and co-ordinator Jo Hill is enormously relieved the position is finally filled.

"Now we can move forward with our plans to get more mentors and to bring our mentoring program out into other communities," Ms Hill said.

Five years ago Mr Smith did one of the NVNC Life Skills for Blokes courses and mentor training.

"I did them out of curiosity and to gain more knowledge," he said.

"The courses definitely helped me to find work, so I am in a good position to support and encourage others."

Mr Smith has just finished his job as Nambucca Shire Council's youth worker.

"The timing of this job was perfect ? I was only out of work for a week."

He said unemployment was the number one issue facing blokes in the Nambucca Valley.

"Getting blokes to retrain and involved in mentoring programs, means they are more involved in their communities, which can lead to work ? it did for me."

Mr Smith is a butcher by trade but six years ago he decided he needed a change and studied welfare at TAFE.

"It has been hard work retraining, but the change has been so good," he said.

"I'm loving this and now I feel I can give something back to the community."

For information on the next Life Skills for Blokes course, which will start soon, phone NVNC 6568 2305.



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