Year 10 Riverina Anglican College student Ella Prior said she had always been interested in a role that would help a community.
That was why she took the initiative to call the Riverina Zone NSW RFS and asked for work experience.
“I reached out to the RFS with a phone call.They sorted it all out and got back to me. It’s also part of our school’s program,” she said.
During the program, on July 2–6, Ella was immersed in the administration component of the organisation, as well as getting exposure to the operational side.
Asked about highlights, she said the whole week was great.
“There’s been a lot of people here I’ve enjoyed spending time with – they’re really friendly people.
“I’ve learnt a lot,” she said.
As for challenges, Ella said it was the confidence in calling people, which she said she had gained during her final two days.
There’s been a lot of people here I’ve enjoyed spending time with – they’re really friendly people...I've learnt a lot.Ella Prior, Riverina Anglican College student
While her work experience has finished, she is keen on volunteering for the NSW RFS once she finishes high school.
“It was never something I really thought deeply about, but after being here, it’s definitely something I’ll look into again after school,” she said.
Her interest in future volunteering was welcomed by Riverina Zone operational officer Bradley Stewart, who said a key focus of the NSW RFS was recruitment of young people.
“They [young people] can give as much as they want.
“We have multiple roles and all they need to do is pick up the phone and have a chat to us and see what we can offer each other,” Mr Stewart said.
As part of their recruitment, the NSW RFS has a junior membership or a cadet program.
Further, young people may also take up the organisation’s secondary school cadet program that some districts run.
Mr Stewart encourages other young people to reach out for work-experience opportunities.
As for Ella, Mr Stewart praised her for her efforts.
“It’s always quite refreshing being able to exchange ideas with young people.
“It’s been good, I think she’s enjoyed her time here.
“We’ve taken the opportunity to explain to her our organisational structure and how we provide a safety function for the community,” he said.
It’s always quite refreshing being able to exchange ideas with young people.Bradley Stewart, Riverina Zone operational officer
Similarly, administration officer Kristin Rava said the team were happy with Ella’s presence.
“She’s had a chance to interact with some of our volunteers.
“If only we had more time – five days go really quickly,” Ms Rava said.
When asked about advice for other young people, Ella said that if they should “give it a go”.
“I never thought I’d be accepted here for work experience, but I was.
“If people are looking at something different, definitely give this a try,” she said.