This is the fifth article of the "Keep Employing Youth (KEY)" series, highlighting the value of youth employees in the Tararua District.
Kimberley Stevens’ enthusiasm for her work is evident, when she describes her role with the Tararua District Council as her "dream job".
Five years ago, Kimberley admits she had no idea what the future held for her, or what direction her life would take. Today, thanks to an opportunity that presented itself to her and which she bravely took; she’s clear on what she wants for her future.
"I think the future for me really does lie somewhere in local government, I don’t know where that is but I believe it is a really good career for me."
Kimberley considers herself lucky that she is in the role she has today, as the Marketing & Communications Administrator at Tararua District Council.
"I was fortunate enough to secure some work experience in the Records Department of Council. I was working two days a week, just doing general administration and filing."
"When I found out that Lianne Simpkin, the Economic Development & Communications Manager, needed someone to come on and help her doing general duties, I jumped at the opportunity.
"I was taken on with a six-month contract and during that time I think I made an impression on her, she started to ask me questions and get my input. After numerous short contracts – and many more questions! – I secured the Marketing & Communications Assistant position.
"This was a massive opportunity for me, going from wondering what I was going to do with my life, to today, where I am loving my work and being in my dream job."
Kimberley acknowledges that Lianne was a mentor to her and has taught her a lot.
"She could see that I could understand the marketing and communications world and that I had potential, so she mentored me in that industry. Over the past three to four years, my hunger for knowledge and my level of knowledge has continued to grow. I love it here, sometimes I just don’t realise how far I have come."
Lianne has high praise for Kimberley and says she added a whole new dimension to the team at the Tararua Business Network where she works.
"Kimberley joined us in her late teens and has led the way in the adoption of new technologies and workstyles.
"We often get asked for our assistance from our marketing department because they are impressed with the work standard, this is a credit to the principles and high standards that Kimberley sets and achieves."
Lianne believes that investing in our youth will pay for itself many times over.
"I’d encourage local businesses and organisations to get on board and invest in youth employees. Ultimately this will make our workforce and our local economy stronger."
WRITTEN BY BARBARA GILLHAM