Mel Which Scarf program did you take part in? Winter Scarf '16 at Higher Ground Melbourne. Which country were you born in? Papua New Guinea. Why did you apply for the Scarf program? I had no experience in any field, so hospitality was a good place to start. This Scarf graduate Q & A is part of the 'Stay Home with Scarf' campaign. Find out more here. . What was your experience of job-hunting/applying for jobs before you came to Scarf? Before Scarf, I applied for many jobs and didn’t even get a single reply. I was frustrated and mad. How did you hear about Scarf? I heard about it through word of mouth. . Training during Winter Scarf '16 - three plate carry session and wine training with Jenny 'Wine Whitch' Polack at Ladro. . What what you were expecting at Scarf? What surprised you most? The Scarf program was full of surprises in a positive way. The most surprising thing I learnt was the names of different wines. At first all I knew was red and white wine. What was the most valuable thing you got from participating in Scarf? Everything I learnt at Scarf was valuable. One of the most amazing things I learnt was how to carry three plates. . Mel working at Do More Than Dine '17. Photo: Gareth Sobey. . Do you think working with a mentor is a positive thing? If so, why? Working with a mentor made a huge difference. They know where to look for jobs and they recommended what jobs to apply for, according to our experience with Scarf. Did the Scarf program help to increase your confidence? If so, why? Yes, the Scarf program made a huge difference in my entire life. Now I’m working in a very nice office because Scarf gave me that confidence which I could apply to every walk of life. . Working with Scarf mentor Gabs during a 2016 Winter Scarf Dinner at Higher Ground Melbourne, and undertaking work experience at Belleville Melbourne during Scarf's Do More Than Drink fundraising and work experience campaign. . Working with a mentor made a huge difference. They know where to look for jobs and recommended what jobs to apply for, according to our experience with Scarf. Tell us about the first job you got after you finished Scarf. Two months after finishing Scarf I got a job in Thornbury, at a small cafe called Miss Margaret. My mentor asked me to apply for the job and I got the job. I did everything because it was a small cafe. I worked 10-15 hours a week for about 6 months. After this, I worked in two other restaurants. At Boulevard in Kew as a waiter and dishwasher, working 20-30 hours per week. The other one was in Williamstown working as a waiter. It was casual and I worked 5-10 hours per week. . Mel presents at the Melbourne Women's Fund Awards night in 2019. Photo: Raquel Betiz care of Melbourne Women's Fund. . What else have you been up to since you graduated from Scarf? I was studying at RMIT and completed my Diploma in Business. I’m also a board member of a small organisation called Hope Co-Op and I volunteer my time as the chair of the organisation. What jobs have you had since Scarf? After working in hospitality, I worked in a superannuation company as an Administrator for a couple of years. Then I worked full time with Asylum Seeker Resource Centre as an Employment Support Officer. Since early 2021 I've been working as a Fund Administrator for a financial services company. Scarf gave me that confidence which I could apply to every walk of life. Have you been involved in anything else at Scarf since you graduated? Yes, I worked at Do More Than Dine ‘17 where I got to meet Matt Preston. I came back as a diner to lots of Scarf Dinners during different seasons, to support new trainees. I also took part in a talk about my experience at the Melbourne Women's Fund awards night. In February 2020 I performed at the Scarf Turns 10 party (I'm also a singer!) And I was a special guest for Scarf's 'Zoom Into Wellbeing' session. . Performing original music at Scarf Turns 10! at Worksmith in Collingwood. Photos: Kaniography. . Would you like to become a mentor or trainer at Scarf in the future? I would like to because I want to help others. Do you have any words of advice for other young people who are interested in participating in Scarf? Scarf is an awesome place to start hospitality. I promise you, you won’t regret joining Scarf. It's an amazing community where everyone looks after each other and helps each other. . Pictured with Mae, Jonny and Hannah from Scarf when she dined during Winter Scarf '18 at Bhang to support the new trainees. . NB: The above Q+A was conducted via email in December 2019, with some additions made in January 2022 to reflect Melisha's current employment and involvement with the Scarf Turns 10! event. Portrait photo: Peter Tarasiuk.