Lucy Curno CVA Updates

Working For Victoria: A New Direction

2020 was a year of doors closing while others opened  new opportunities and paths arising, on the back of chapters ending for many Australians employment.  

CVA was proud to be a part of the movement towards creating new employment opportunities through the ‘Working For Victoria’ (WFV) initiative, which was created for exactly that reason, to find employment for Victorians impacted by the effects of COVID-19.  

CVA’s WFV initiative was in partnership with the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, with two teams being created in September last year, across both Geelong and Colac. The Colac based team mainly focused on agricultural projects, working with private land owners and farmers to support them in protecting the natural environments their properties are situated on. While the Geelong team focused on environmental projects alongside CVA partners such as Parks Victoria and the Borough of Queenscliffeto complete grant funded programs which were put on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions on volunteering.  

Tess Marshall, Acting Project Manager for WFV was a part of the team bringing this to life. For Tess, being able to provide CVA project partners with paid workers through WFV was a morale boost for all involved. 

“It was great to be able to offer assistance to complete projects through the WFV initiative, it was a bit of a ‘thank you’ to our partners for all their support, and a way to reassure everyone that we’re still here and we’ll be back with volunteers soon!” 

For Tess and the wider CVA team, the highlight of the greater WFV initiative was the opportunities it provided people who no longer had job security, or an idea of what they’re next step was.  

With this came a focus on education and training, alongside the impact the teams were making on the environment through weed management, tree planting, fencing and mulching. Everyone hired as a part of the WFV team were trained in first aid and defensive driving as well as gaining their chemical and chainsaw certificates. 

Of the 24 staff we hired, many had never worked in the environmental sector before! So, we brought in team leaders who were great working with teams, knew how to explain things properly, were patient and allowed people to learn on the job. We also encouraged taking an hour each day to learn the area they were working in. Finding new plants, weeds and native birds etc. 

In fact, Tess says the biggest impact on the environment was training up 24 people who are now inspired to start new careers in the environmental sector. 

Now the majority of our teams want to go out and continue working in the environment so that’s probably the biggest win that we have. People that want to continue to do the work that we’re doing!” 

One of those team members was Alanah Scacco, who had previously worked as a swimming instructor and in customer service at the Avalon Airport. 

Prior to this however, Alanah had completed a Bachelor of Environmental Science, which made the WFV role her perfect opportunity to get her foot in the door. 

“I was wanting to go into the environmental area as a career after university, but it wasn’t the right timing, and there wasn’t many entry level jobs. The WFV role popped up and I thought ‘what better chance to get my hands on experience in the environmental sector and guide my career from there!’” 

Aside from Alanah’s enjoyment of the new skills she’s had the opportunity to learn, and to take with her into her next opportunity – she says the best part was how well the team got along. 

“We were quite a weird group, but on a good level – we just all came from different backgrounds! A couple of the original crew came from retail, having had their own business for a while – so that was cool just seeing their growth through the program.  

I think bouncing off each other and learning different skillsknowledge and perspectives on things a great aspect of a team. We just gelled. I don’t know whether it’s our passion for the environment or our openness to learning but we all got along so well. 

Alanah, like many of the WFV team, is now looking forward to putting her new skills and sense of direction to use.

I’ve always had a passion for the environment, but this has grown it more and made me so eager to get out in the environment and keep learning new skills while growing the ones I’ve gained from this job.”

Want to get involved with volunteer opportunities, and learn more about looking after the environment around you?


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