Volunteering: A pathway to Employment - CareFlight

Volunteering: A pathway to Employment

By Kylie Goyen, NT Relationship Development Officer 

Dressing up in a bear suit, wrapping Christmas presents and chilling out on the beach at events are not things that are typically included in a job application for a Patient Transport Vehicle Driver. But at CareFlight, we can vouch for how valuable volunteer experience can be for an employer.

When people think of CareFlight, they think of helicopters and planes. And this is certainly an important part of our work – our aeromedical crews flew more than 5,000 missions last year alone.

But the organisation does much more than meets the eye for many Australians.  

We deliver trauma training that helps upskill rural and remote emergency service volunteers in saving lives, we run a program designed to assist clinicians in managing sick or critically injured children in remote Top End communities, and we operate a fleet of road vehicles to transport patients needing specialist treatment from Palmerston Regional Hospital to Royal Darwin Hospital – it’s a busy service that operates 24/7.

Rob - Patient Transport Driver
Rob Albanesi – CareFlight Patient Transport Driver

Tom Cluff and Rob Albanesi are two of CareFlight’s Patient Transport Drivers helping to run that service. But both Tom and Rob started out with CareFlight wearing a different uniform – our iconic CareFlight bear suit. After months of volunteer work with the organisation in the Northern Territory, they traded the bear suit for a CareFlight uniform and transitioned into full-time employment as part of the Palmerston Inter-Hospital Road Transport Service team.

Rob started his journey with CareFlight after a career in retail, he explained he started volunteering with us because he “wanted the opportunity to be part of an organisation that saves lives”. After meeting our team and hearing their stories, he decided he wanted to work here.

Tom also signed up to volunteer because he wanted to lend a helping hand. Shortly after, the 20-year-old was looking for work and heard about the job as a driver and applied. While his previous experience as a pizza delivery driver helped him secure the role, it was his dedication as a volunteer that got him over the line.

Tom pictured in CareFlight’s bear suit at Coolalinga Central Christmas Wrapping.
Tom pictured in CareFlight’s bear suit at Coolalinga Central Christmas Wrapping.

As CareFlight NT’s Relationship Development Officer and volunteer program leader, I had seen both Tom and Rob work tirelessly to help raise vital funds for the organisation. So, when I got the call to provide a reference for them, I was able to vouch that they were the perfect candidates for the job.

Our mission as a charity is to save lives, speed recovery and serve the community. While many of our core services are supported by government, delivering our mission depends heavily on community support and fundraising. Our volunteers are an essential part of our team, each year they help us fundraise so we can invest $1 million to ensure the Top End Rescue Helicopter can operate.

This week is National Volunteer Week, and we’re celebrating the vital work our volunteers do for us every day. Thank you for doing an amazing job fundraising and helping to run events, we couldn’t do what we do without you.

CareFlight is always looking for volunteers to join our amazing team. If you are interested in becoming a Volunteer please email Kylie – events-nt@careflight.org or phone 0436 808 630.


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