Not long ago, Andrea Powell was in a transitional phase, but volunteering as a tourism ambassador for Sydney City Council has opened the door to a world of opportunities.
The Wollstonecraft resident and former finance/human resources professional was nearing retirement age but felt she still had more to offer.
After hearing the council was seeking volunteers to serve as tourist ambassadors, she arranged to take part in its first training intake.
As a Sydney tourism ambassador, Andrea meets and greets tourists around Circular Quay and Little Bay in Balmain, while also recommending other areas of the city she feels are worth visiting.
Roving ambassadors are deployed to some of the city’s most popular tourist destinations including Customs House, Darling Harbour, the Queen Victoria Building and Chinatown.
“It’s all about showing people my city and sharing my love of Sydney and all the wonderful places there are,” Andrea said.
Volunteers are put through an induction and training process and share a collaborative relationship, sharing interesting walks and places with one another.
Not only is Andrea still volunteering, but the role also inspired her to enrol in a tour guiding course at TAFE, which helped her secure a part-time job as a tour guide.
As a result, she now escorts groups around other parts of Australia and the globe.
When we spoke, she was preparing to fly off to lead a tour group in central Asia.
Whether people are looking for something to do in retirement or seeking a new career, Andrea says volunteering is a great way to open new pathways and opportunities.
It also offers volunteers a chance to meet new people and ensure visitors have a memorable time in Sydney.
“It’s just given a totally different direction to my life and has allowed me to work longer than I possibly could,” she said.
“Instead of being confined to an office, I now say Sydney is my office, or Australia is my office.”
- If you’d like to volunteer for the program or for more information, phone 9265-9333 or go to www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au