The Newcastle Airport Ambassador Program is proudly celebrating 14 years this week, coinciding with National Volunteer Week 2022.
Beginning in May of 2008 as a small group of enthusiastic volunteers welcoming passengers and championing local tourism, the team has evolved into a fully-fledged program with 11 Ambassadors who share two volunteer shifts each day.
Recognised by their distinctive teal blazers and welcoming smiles, the volunteers help the 1.3 million visitors who pass through Newcastle Airport each year, having collectively donated more than 50,000 volunteer hours to date.
Airport CEO Dr Peter Cock said this year’s National Volunteer Week theme ‘better together’ couldn’t be more apt.
“We couldn’t ask for a more dedicated group of people to represent Newcastle Airport and help serve our region. Our Ambassadors, like the rest of our team, are driven by our purpose of being the airport the region deserves, and they work extremely hard to make the Newcastle Airport experience a better one for each of our visitors every day.
“They're here to make sure our customers feel supported, whether that’s to lend a helping hand, answer your questions, or simply help make your journey that little less stressful.
“On behalf of all the people who use our airport, I want to thank every one of our Ambassadors for their commitment and hard work,” Dr Cock said.
Carmel Kennedy has been a Newcastle Airport Ambassador for five years and says it’s the perfect volunteer position for her with a background in aviation and her love of helping people.
“My favourite way to open a conversation is to ask someone where they are going. Sometimes I notice travellers look a little upset or distressed - they might be going to a funeral, or maybe they have never flown before. I’m pretty good at picking up those vibes, and I love helping them,” she said.
Diane McNeil has 14 years as an Ambassador under her belt and for her, it’s connecting with people that makes the volunteer experience well worth it.
“Just a small act can make somebody’s day very different when they walk through the door, whether it’s pointing them to the bus stop, or answering their questions. If you can make that person’s day a lot less anxious and send them on their way – well, it’s quite a lovely feeling!”
So outstanding is their contribution to the world of volunteering, the Newcastle Airport Ambassador Program has previously been awarded ‘Best Practice in Volunteer Management’ at the annual Hunter Volunteer Centre Awards.
Dianne McNeil said being a volunteer Ambassador isn’t just about the helping the community – for the Teal Army it’s also about helping each other.
“The Ambassador Program is a very good support group as we share similar interests. We all support each other, in the good times and the bad,” she said.
National Volunteer Week is Australia’s largest annual celebration of volunteering and is a chance for the community to celebrate and recognise the vital work of volunteers, and to say thank you.
INTERESTED IN BECOMING A VOLUNTEER AMBASSADOR?
We are always on the lookout for new Ambassadors to join the team at Newcastle Airport. If you are passionate about excellent customer service, and have great communication skills and a friendly nature, we would love to hear from you.
To express your interest or find out more visit our Ambassador page.