Volunteering offers skills, experiences and friendships

Published: 30 May 2019

From dog walkers to emergency service personnel, plant propagators to turtle watchers – hundreds of roles are on offer at the Mackay Volunteer Expo.

The Expo will be held at the Mackay Senior Citizens Centre and Civic Precinct lawns from 9am to 1pm on Saturday, June 8.

More than 50 organisations will be in attendance.

Cr Fran Mann said becoming a volunteer was not just something you did when you retire.

“Volunteering is the ultimate way to upskill yourself while giving to the community,” Cr Mann said.

“We see an increasing number of young people and new arrivals to the region becoming volunteers,” she said.

“Volunteering is the perfect way to learn new skills and complete training that enable you to break into the job market.”

Susan Armstrong from the RSPCA said they needed help with caring and exercising the animals, gardening and administration as they’d recently had several volunteers move to paid employment.

“We get a lot of younger volunteers who want to learn about animal training, behaviour and care – some want to pursue jobs in the veterinary industry and others just love the wellbeing benefits of working with animals,” Ms Armstrong said.

“It doesn’t need to be a huge commitment, even just an hour or two once a week to walk some dogs on an afternoon or weekend makes a difference,” she said.

Valeriya Edsall from George Street Neighbourhood Centre encouraged residents from culturally diverse backgrounds to consider volunteering.

“We have roles in event planning and set-up, administration, working with children and multicultural programs,” Ms Edsall said.

“Not only is volunteering a great way to learn new skills and work on your English, it’s also a great way to meet people and integrate into the community if you are a new arrival,” she said.

Ms Edsall said many volunteers at the Neighbourhood Centre transitioned into paid work in the community due to the skills and self-confidence they take away from their volunteer positions.

The Volunteer Expo is a free event with food and drink available for purchase.

There will also be lots of giveaways and prizes on the day. These will include native plants, shirts, gift vouchers and a joy flight in a rare vintage Tiger Moth aircraft.