Zakia Patel


Queanbeyan Unit

"As soon as I walked in and saw the first display, I knew it was something I wanted to be part of. I signed up for an interview to be a new recruit. I've loved volunteering for NSW SES ever since."

Tell us a bit about yourself and your role within NSW SES?

I have been in the NSW SES for close to 9 years now. I love to be hands on, working outside, learning new skills and gaining more experience. I have also spent time over the last couple of years working in our operations room, which has been a totally different experience and one I am still getting used to, especially as I have always been someone who prefers to be outside.

Why did you join NSW SES? Anything that was deciding factor for you?

I always enjoyed volunteering within the community. I went away to Uni for a few years and when i came back I was looking for some sort of volunteer work. A few of my basketball team mates were part of NSW SES and told me to come down and have a look. As soon as i walked in and saw the first display, I knew it was something I wanted to be part of. I signed up for an interview to be a new recruit. I've loved it ever since.

What is your favourite part about being a member of the NSW State Emergency Service?

I love the people that I get to work with and meet. Out Of Area Assistance (OOA) is one of my favourite type of jobs because the experiences are always different and it's such a great way to meet other volunteers. I also love all the new skills I've learnt, and how much I have been able to develop my leadership skills through the different roles that I have had the opportunity to be apart of in the unit.

What are the various skills you have learnt along the way?

Before being in the SES, I had never worked on a roof or used a chainsaw. They were two skills I learnt that I am very proud of, especially when i was able to use these skills in my everyday life on our farm.

I have also learnt how to be a leader within the unit, and this is a skill that i am always working on and developing. I have also been a Trainer and Assessor in various competencies and love being able to deliver training to other members. I have been fortunate enough to travel around my region in the past to deliver training and assessments.

What advice would you give to others that are thinking to join?

If you stick with it through the first few months of new recruit training, it is one of the best experiences you will ever have. It's more then just giving back to the community, it's about becoming part of the NSW SES family. There are ups and downs, just like with most things but it's very rewarding.

Want to take your leadership skills to the next level like Zakia? Learn more about volunteering with NSW SES and become a member

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