Not long ago, Andrea Powell was in a transitional phase, but volunteering as a tourism ambassador for Sydney council has opened the doorway to a world of opportunities.
The Wollstonecraft resident and former finance/ HR professional was nearing retirement age, but after departing from her previous role, felt she still had more to offer as a working woman.
After hearing the council was seeking volunteers to serve as tourist ambassadors, she arranged to take part in its first training intake.
Not only is she still volunteering for the program, but the role has also helped her to land a part time job as a tour guide, giving her an opportunity to guide groups around other parts of Australia and the globe.
At the time of the interview, she was preparing to fly off to lead a tour group in central Asia.
“I heard about the program when I was going to meet a friend from Brisbane to take her on a day tour,” she said.
“I thought it would be great to do a volunteering job while looking for another job.”
As a tourism ambassador, she meets and greets tourists around Circular Quay and Little Bay in Balmain, whilst also recommending other areas of the city which she feels are worth visiting.
In addition to Circular Quay and Little Bay, roving ambassadors are also deployed to some of the city’s most popular tourist destinations including Custom’s 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- the walks, the cafes, the hidden gems.”
Volunteers are put through an induction and training process and share a collaborative relationship where they share interesting walks and places they have taken groups with one another.
Andrea said she enjoyed her volunteering so much it inspired her to enroll in a tour guiding course at TAFE, which led to her finding employment in the industry.
She said whether people were looking for something to do in retirement or seeking a new career, volunteering was a great way to open new doorways and opportunities.
“It is so good. 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, call (02) 9265-9333 or click here.