Volunteer Charles shares his career knowledge with Northcott customers

By Luisa Bustos, 14 June 2018 , Comments

People decide to volunteer their time or skills to assist others or organisations like Northcott for many different reasons. Perhaps you’re looking for experience in a new field or career? Maybe you’re approaching retirement and want a new routine for your week? Whatever the reason, the general consensus is that volunteering is a sure-fire way to get that warm and fuzzy feeling we all need.

For Charles, one of our regular volunteers, volunteering was about finding a position that was fulfilling – socially and intellectually – while also being a way to keep busy during retirement. The opportunity to support school leavers with disability at Northcott’s Vocational Skills program in Parramatta gave Charles the chance the share his career knowledge and be challenged at the same time – a win win!

During National Volunteer Week recently, we asked Charles to share some thoughts about his volunteer role with Northcott.

Why did you want to be involved in volunteering with Northcott?

On retirement, there were several goals we set for ourselves. The first and most important was not to spend the next 20 years watching midday TV, and secondly to find something to challenge us intellectually and physically. I tried one option before Northcott. Teaching is all about collegiality and the exchange of ideas and the first role I took on didn’t satisfy that. Northcott did and every time I come in, the banter, the teamwork and involvement are stimulating and enjoyable.

What sorts of things do you do as part of your volunteering at Vocational Skills?

My role tends to be a varied role and gives me the opportunity to employ knowledge I developed as a Deputy Principal leading staff development and assessment and also my skills acquired managing student welfare. I have supported programs in entry level assessment, executive function programs and currently social competence. Earlier I was supporting customers with resume writing.

What do you enjoy most about your experience with Northcott?

I knew that leaving work meant that my broader social engagement would change and a part of me still had something to offer. Northcott gives me the opportunity on a smaller scale to apply my 20 years in leadership, student welfare, and diagnostic support of students. There are those, like me, that thrive on interaction with people, sharing knowledge, having a laugh and making new relationships. This role at Northcott ticks all the boxes.

What have you gained from your volunteering experience?

There is obviously the satisfaction of still contributing after retirement and the interaction with staff and customers is very good for the soul.

What drives your passion for supporting people with disability?

I think the challenge. I’d like to think everyone has an optimum level of achievement and we should never underestimate that. Northcott seeks to find this point in customers. Again, the opportunity still to be engaged in this pursuit is fulfilling.

What would you say to somebody else considering volunteering in some capacity?

I am a strong believer in the need to get out there and challenge the mind and body to fight off the degradation of mental health as a result of age. I believe volunteering is one area that can keep my current generation moving along and is not something that has to be complex in which to engage. Social interaction is also important and volunteering offers that.

Related content

Read about 16-year-old Ethan’s volunteering role with Northcott.


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