Volunteers in our Pathways programs help build aspiration in children and young people by giving them the chance to ask them questions and learn about their careers. As the saying goes; if you see it, you can be it. A volunteer with Ardoch for five years now, Akuot has played a special role in connecting with children and young people to build aspiration.
As a New & Emerging Communities Liaison Officer with Victoria Police, Akuot works with communities to explain the role of police and arranges to have police members attend cultural events.
Akuot has worked with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities in different roles over the years and was inspired to take on the job as she was once a new and emerging community member too.
“I also did not have a good understanding of what the role of police in Australia was. I was not aware of how to access police assistance, or what would be considered as an emergency. I also had negative views of police in the countries I used to live and so was wary of police,” says Akuot.
“After many years of working with CALD communities and youth, I had a better understanding of the many negative effects this fear of police could have on a community. One example would be that victims of crimes would not report the crimes against them. I was inspired to take on this role to help reduce these issues.”
Akuot says when she first started working with Victoria Police it was challenging learning the ranks of police officers, such as constable, sergeant, inspector. But the most rewarding part of the job is knowing that her role has a positive impact in people’s lives.
As a role model in her community and at Ardoch programs, we asked Akuot to share what she’s learned along the way.
What is a highlight of volunteering for you?
The highlight of volunteering for me has been getting to see future leaders within our communities. The students I have met all have different backgrounds and different ambitions.
I think it is also a positive aspect to have diversity within the volunteers as representation matters for young people. It is important that they see men, women, various abilities and cultural representation in various roles. This helps them know that none of these qualities should be a barrier in them pursuing their dreams.
Why do you volunteer?
I volunteer because I think young people are worth the investment. I also find it rewarding to impart some of the knowledge and experiences I have.
What do you wish you knew when you were younger?
One thing I wish I knew when I was younger is that it is okay to make a mistake, as long as I learn from it and improve on my second attempt.
What advice do you have for young people thinking about their futures?
If you don’t know what you want to do in the future yet, do not stress too much. Think about all the skills you have. What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing? Speak to your teachers, parents and program facilitators about how they knew what they wanted to do.
And finally, whatever decision you make now doesn’t have to be what role you do until retirement. You can change careers down the line if you want to!
What is the most helpful piece of advice you received when you were young?
The most helpful advice I was given was to always give my best effort in anything that was important to me, and also try to enjoy the little wins in life.
Ardoch’s Pathways Beyond School programs provide students with a range of inspiring and practical experiences exploring various industries to help build and support future aspirations beyond secondary school.