National Volunteer Week 2012 has been marked by the State’s official volunteer marine rescue service by announcing the establishment of the Marine Rescue NSW Volunteer Education Scholarship.
MRNSW Commissioner Stacey Tannos said a number of scholarships - worth a total of $10,000 - would be awarded to help the service’s members to undertake professional development to assist them in their volunteering roles.
'These scholarships are an investment in our future,' Commissioner Tannos said.
'The grants will be targeted at helping members to build their capability in crucial fields such as emergency response coordination, administration and human resources management.
'We are particularly keen to help our next generation prepare to become our leaders of the future.
'Building our volunteers’ skills and expertise will ensure that Marine Rescue NSW can continue providing its lifesaving services to the boating community for many decades to come.'
MRNSW has more than 3,000 volunteers in 45 units along the coastline from Point Danger to Eden, all of whom play a significant role in improving boating safety, whether as rescue vessel crew members, radio operators, fundraisers or in administration, training or community engagement.
'National Volunteer Week is a valuable opportunity to thank each of them for their commitment to our organisation and to saving lives on the water,' Commissioner Tannos said.
'Our members give up time at work and with their families and friends to perform their duties and help people in trouble on our waterways, often at some risk to their own safety.
'The boating public is much safer on the water thanks to the vigilance of our volunteers, who deserve our gratitude and praise.'
Commissioner Tannos said MRNSW volunteers would be invited to apply for the education scholarships to assist them with the cost of training fees and associated expenses to attend recognised external training courses that would complement their MRNSW training.
Applications will be assessed by a panel, which will include MRNSW training and volunteer representatives, and determined on the basis of merit and value to the community, MRNSW and the applicant.
For instance, members may want to attend an emergency management course at the Emergency Management Australia Institute at Mt Macedon in Victoria or undertake TAFE courses in human resources management, bookkeeping or management practice.
'All volunteer organisations face a major challenge in recruiting and retaining volunteers in these busy times and we are particularly keen to foster the development of our members by offering them new challenges and opportunities,' Commissioner Tannos said.
'We want to encourage members who see a future leadership path for themselves and are keen to boost their skills and training to help them take on these roles, whether at a local unit or corporate level.
'This recognises that professional and committed emergency services such as MRNSW need appropriate planning, resourcing and training of volunteers to ensure they have the capacity to meet the emergency needs of the community both now and into the future.'
MRNSW members can find details of the scholarship online
Applications close on July 1, with the winners to be announced in August. Marine Rescue NSW website