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Age no barrier to volunteering

Published 17/05/2013

William Burrows, 20, likes being an SES volunteer because, as he puts it, there’s a place there for everyone.William Burrows

Mr Burrows has been a member of Victoria State Emergency Service’s (SES) Brimbank Unit for about nine months. He’s currently in his second year of university, studying Biomedical Science.

A Scout when he was younger, Mr Burrows first encountered SES when a unit paid a visit to his troop to spruik the service.

“I wanted to put a bit back into the community. When I hit my second year of Uni I’d gotten used to it and wasn’t as busy so I thought it was a good time to sign up,” he said.

As an operational member of the Brimbank team, Mr Burrows said he’d already attended storm damage incidents and assisted police.

“It’s been really interesting trying to figure things out; how everything works. Everyone has been really supportive and the training is an extra aspect I enjoy,” he said.

As well as his operational duties, Mr Burrows brings skill with Information Technology that is highly prized by the unit. He works part time for an IT business and holds experience and qualifications that he applies to the various systems and gadgets utilised by SES.

“Things will always break or stop working or someone might not know how to use them, so it does seem good to have someone who can fix them,” he said.

The diverse skills that volunteers bring to a unit, such as Mr Burrows’ tech savvy, form one of SES’ greatest strengths.

“So many people bring so many different things to the unit. With such a variety and everyone sharing and collaborating, you end up with a team which knows a bit about everything,” he said.

“I don’t ever feel any age barrier with SES. I’m there with people as old as my parents and we’re all getting along and we’re in this together. That’s one of the best parts off SES; there doesn’t seem to be any prejudice.

“Everyone is welcome and there’s nothing stopping anyone from doing whatever they want to do. If you want to be a casual member helping with admin or big events, there’s a place for you.”