genU, Emily

“Volunteering led me to where I am now. I graduated with a Bachelor of Health Sciences in Health Promotion. I wanted to work in the field of preventative health measures, to impart knowledge and strengthen the community. I quickly found the positions that I was applying for were going to people who had at least 5+ years’ experience in the field. I felt a little deflated after my investment and expectation of completing a degree at university. This led me to consider volunteering while working part-time – I signed up with Lifeline for 2 years and this was the edge I needed to get into my preferred field of employment.

GenU Emily (002) (002)

“I highly recommend volunteering if you lack industry experience” Humans in Geelong met Emily Learey at the Gordon Skills and Jobs Centre where there was a panel talking about the benefits of volunteering for your career.

Emily is employed as the genU volunteer program lead. In 2016 Karingal and St Laurence merged and were rebranded genU. “It stands for Generation You and we work with younger people through to the elderly in the fields of disability and aged care.

“We have a lot of students who’ve graduated coming to us for experience as volunteers. They are starting out as I did. Also, people who are looking for a career change. It’s a great way to build your skills and identify if it’s the right field for you. We just ask that volunteers commit at least 6 months on a flexible basis.

“There are a wide variety of roles available and volunteers begin with an induction. We support them through the first 4 weeks to get settled in. We ensure our volunteers are given roles that provide them with personal gains while also giving back.

“genU has 3000 employees and 400 volunteers. We are grateful to our volunteers who can deliver a person-centred approach where clients receive 1 to 1 companionship most days. Volunteers also help run smaller intimate activities.

“You can apply online at or we are happy to help you with the procedure. Volunteering provides you with a sense of purpose, gives you self-confidence, makes you happy and builds skill sets. Having volunteered shows commitment and gives you an edge over other job seekers.”

Story: Jacqui Bennett Photo: supplied