Volunteering opens doors

In a few short years, Cassie Wallace has gone from being an out-of-work volunteer at Uniting AgeWell to leading a team who are a critical component of the engine room of the organisation.

And the Rostering Planning Officer, who is second-in-charge of a team of twelve responsible for rostering all staff at the organisation’s residential care sites, can still vividly recall the day her life changed. When after 18 months of sitting around at home as an unemployed university graduate, she decided to “get off her butt” and start volunteering.

“Volunteering was the key to doors opening for me,” Cassie says. “Not only did it give me a sense of purpose, but it was the best career move I ever made. The experience gave me skills, Uniting AgeWell trained me and gave me a broad range of opportunities.”

And if Cassie ever needed confirmation of this, she was one of a handful of employees from across the organisation chosen to participate in a Uniting AgeWell course to develop her leadership skills and be “grown” to take on even greater responsibility.

The early years

Cassie was raised in the outer-eastern suburbs of Melbourne and did a Bachelor of Arts majoring in sociology and human resources at Swinburne University.

During her schooling and university years, she worked at McDonald’s, starting off behind the counter, then working in the kitchen and finally upsizing to training new recruits.

After she graduated from Swinburne, Cassie started applying for jobs. In between she did a few placements here and there, working at family companies doing a variety of odd jobs.

Volunteering provides a pathway

“After 18 months of basically being unemployed, I was bored. So I decided to start volunteering to keep busy,” she explains. Cassie is a die-hard Richmond supporter who loves all sport and she started volunteering at the Brisbane Lions Football Club and for the Cricket World Cup.

Then a volunteer administration position at Uniting AgeWell came up. Cassie took it, and started out volunteering one day a week. Six months later she was offered a paid casual role one day a week to cover for an employee on maternity leave. More casual paid positions popped up at various sites, and she found herself doing billing, working with volunteers, doing admin and working at a reception desk. One day a week ramped up to four.

Then her big break came and in 2016 she was offered full time work in the rostering team. Now was her chance to put into practice all her experience in juggling her various part time roles across here, there and everywhere. Her dedication and enthusiasm was quickly recognised and she was promoted to her current position in 2019.

“It’s a massive task,” Cassie admits. “The team looks after the staff rostering for all the residential sites across Victoria and Tasmania. Think nurses, direct care workers, hotel services, cleaning, laundry… And in the context of COVID-19, sick leave, holidays and staff being unable to work across multiple sites, juggling shifts has been pretty challenging and we have done everything we can to help out as much as possible and try to make things easier for all of them.”

Nowadays Cassie is passionate about aged care.

“I love being able to make a difference to people’s lives. My work has purpose, it matters,” she says.

And the 31-year old cannot speak highly enough of how supportive and inclusive Uniting AgeWell is.

“The organisation saw potential in me and invested in me. My gender and age are irrelevant. It’s just the best person for the job.”

And Cassie is quick to pay tribute to all the help and mentoring she has received in getting to where she is today. “The organisation is huge but it has a human heart. People make mistakes from time to time. But we are all encouraged to learn from our mistakes, to be best versions of ourselves.”

In her spare time, Cassie dotes on her puppy Stitch, lives close to family in the outer east and is a devoted aunt to a brood of little ones.

And her career advice. “Grab every opportunity that comes your way and make the most of it. And never underestimate the power of volunteering. Not only to give back, but to enable you to grow as a person and to learn so many new and different skills. You’ll be surprised how many doors volunteering opens!”

Learn more about volunteering with us

International Women's Day 2022

While the success and impact of our work relies on all our people thriving, on International Women’s Day we reflect on the opportunity we have to create career pathways for the women we employ, and to celebrate their journeys and the daily impact they each make through their work.

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #breakthebias. Linked to a day that has historically championed women’s rights, we are invited to consider the intersectionality of bias and how, in order to consider ourselves beyond bias, means that equality of opportunity exists for all who identify as women.

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Consider a career at Uniting AgeWell

At Uniting AgeWell we believe that every person has the right to age with dignity, to have genuine opportunities to make old age a meaningful part of life, and to have real options in their later years.

As a leading not-for-profit provider of aged care services in Victoria and Tasmania, our 3,000 staff are committed to exceeding standards in the provision of quality aged care and strive to make a difference every day.

We offer a range of career opportunities with roles across health care, administration, hotel services, maintenance and more.

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