Peter Asi is commUnity Plus’s skills reconnect coach, helping people get formal education, training or work.
What’s your connection to Melton?
I’ve been living here for seven years. We moved from Auckland, New Zealand. My wife found out where my nephew [who was in Australia at the time] was staying and he happened to be in Melton, so we thought we’d move here to be close to him.
What’s your favourite thing about living in Melton?
I have a joke with everyone who comes to visit us that Melton is so easy to get around – it’s just a big square with lots of roundabouts. So, the ease of accessibility.
What would you change about the area if you could?
The area we’re living in at the moment – Melton South – we like it. It’s friendly, safe and quiet. Maybe if we had more industries, manufacturers, factories that people can work in. I think it’s important because, just by looking at how Melton has grown in the last 10 years and how there are new houses and estates going around still, people need jobs. It’s OK to bring a lot of people, but there aren’t a lot of jobs.
Where’s your favourite place to hang out in Melton?
My family and I quite like going to the Melton Country Club. We go every fortnight for the steak night when kids eat free. It’s become a bit of a tradition for us.
For the price you pay, you get a massive steak, chips and a good side of greens – it’s great money’s worth.
How did you get involved with commUnity Plus?
The way I got my foot in the door in commUnity Plus was through Combined Churches Caring Melton, and that sort of set the platform for me to be able to work at commUnity Plus.
My wife’s cousin got a job with commUnity Plus in Footscray and the manager said they were looking for someone for the Melton office. So it was through word-of-mouth that I found out about this particular job.
I wanted to go to university but I never had the belief I could go to university. I guess because I didn’t do well in school. Academically I put in a lot of effort but my maths and English were poor.
Why are you so passionate about helping others get into formal training or work?
Now that my eyes have opened up, I’ve realised education is a very important tool and opens so many doors for you. And I want to help other people get this opportunity and give back to the community in this way.
Do you have any advice for young people who are about to finish school or have just finished school?
Listen to your careers counsellor, listen to professionals who want to help you. There are different pathways available to different people.
What are some of the inspiring things you’ve done or learned?
I’ve come to know that when you see people from the outside you’re quick to judge their capabilities. However, when you walk alongside them and hear their stories, they just need a bit of encouragement. You can see someone on the street [and think poorly of them] but they can be intelligent and have the capabilities to do something great.
I’ve got a really strong passion for helping the growing Samoan community in Melton and helping out the youth and their families.
If you’d like help with finding work or training, call Peter on 0437 585 079.