Why volunteering will help me in my career, Lily’s story.

News from St John - 10 Aug 2023

“I have learnt that everyone has a unique story, and I am fortunate to have developed special bonds with some incredible Queenslanders in my three years with St John.”

25-year-old psychology student Lily is a young woman making a huge difference to the lives of elderly Queenslanders,

When she is not studying, Lily volunteers her time with the popular Friendship and Security Call service offered by St John Ambulance QLD, in addition to studying her master’s in psychology.

“I think volunteering should be essential for all students, especially students in humanitarian fields, like social work and psych.”

“In your degree you learn a lot from textbooks and lectures, but it’s only in your masters you get to use your practical skills.”

“I think a lot of students struggle with that connection and building rapport, because there is not a lot of hands-on practical work in your actual degree, until you are further on in your studies.”

But Lily says it’s not just a special relationship she forms with her clients, she is learning a lot of life skills, she can’t learn in the classroom,

“I talk to my clients about how it was like when they were 25, they like to reflect on the memories they have made– and for me to learn from these elderly Queenslanders it’s been very grounding.”

“I learn something new every time I chat to them, it’s a very special part of my day, I really enjoy it.”

The St John QLD Friendship and Security Call service is a Queensland wide telephone reassurance service aimed at improving social connections.

It saw a spike in its service levels during and after covid, last year alone 21-thousand calls were made to Queenslanders by a beautiful, dedicated volunteer network of 40.

Recent studies also have shown that people who engage in meaningful, productive activities with others tend to live longer, boost their mood, and have a sense of purpose.

These activities seem to help maintain their well-being and may improve their cognitive functions.

And there is good news for young job seekers with volunteering experience…

Recent research undertaken by SEEK found that for people starting their career, almost 1 in 2 hiring managers rank volunteer experience as one of the most valuable factors to consider.

People can use their volunteer experience to demonstrate how they can transfer their skills to a workplace. One thing that can hold them back, is the ability to express how their volunteer experience is applicable.

  • To help overcome the paid work experience gap, candidates, especially those entering the workforce for the first time, can use volunteer experience to bridge that gap.
  • Volunteering can also be used to stand out in a job application, as it showcases a caring nature and willingness to help, as well as a focus on good culture, determination, and skill development. Job seekers need to frame their volunteer experience in a way that the hirer can recognise and understand, so that the value of volunteering is not overlooked.

St John Ambulance QLD is proud of its volunteer base and are always seeking compassionate individuals to join our amazing family of volunteers; all it takes is a couple of hours of your time.