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647 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 62839 15-Jun-2010 23:14
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I was just going through the Christchurch International Airport site, having a nosey, as you do...

I happened to check out the job opportunities (not that I'm looking) but I thought this role was curious - "Airport Information Volunteer". The airport is "looking for well-presented positively-minded people to operate the Airport Information kiosks for two four-hour periods at times that suit them between the hours of 8am and 8pm, Monday to Sunday."

Bit cheeky don't you think? It's apparently new initiative but what's wrong with paying people these days? It's not a charity after all. I get the feeling a committee decided it wasn't worth employing people and someone suggested getting people to do it for free, which was the most popular option amongst the accountants.

Supposedly it works well elsewhere, it's just the first time I've noticed it.

I guess maybe it will be good for some work experience for younger folk interested in that kind of role, could lead to better things for them at the airport. And having a positive reference on your CV from a big corporation is a bonus too. But I thought most people who engage in volunteer work do it for local community groups & clubs. And geek forums!

I hope they at least get a coffee and biscuits at the end of their shift.

If you weren't working, would you consider working part time for free in the hope you'll get noticed for something greater? Or just to pass time until a job comes along? Or maybe you've watched those Airport shows on TV and would like to interact with those happy travellers?

(Just killing time till the next football game)

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2966 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 342127 15-Jun-2010 23:30
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Local government, what were you expecting?

They seem to believe that they'll have as much luck getting volunteers as the district health boards do, because "we're government too!" I guess.

I finally have fibre!  Had to leave the country to get it though.

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  Reply # 342135 16-Jun-2010 00:31
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First reaction was "that sucks" - freekin no way is that volunteer work.

Then I got to thinking. Line up a taxi firm, couple of hotels/motels, a few tour firms and hit them up for x% of $$$ you send their way - kickbacks baby yeah  INCOME!!

But then I reliased this was yet another step to "banana republic NZ"

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 342143 16-Jun-2010 00:45
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I guess maybe it will be good for some work experience for younger folk interested in that kind of role, could lead to better things for them at the airport.

more likely it will be retirees looking for something interesting to do during the day and the opportunity to interact with people. They aren't really interested in the money.

plenty of similar things like this exist already in places, like Auckland hospital (and they are populated by retirees generally speaking)

Interestingly when you can get volunteers they generally do a much better job than if you pay minimum wage. The reason being that they won't be doing it just for the money, they will be doing it because they genuinely want to help out. In other words from the airport's POV it's not so much about how much it costs (a few information booths at min wage would be a drop in the bucket really) but about how good the service is. Free workers probably provide better service than paid workers in this case.

there are some interesting studies in behavioural economics about this.
like this one:

....well-established observation that
people sometimes expend more effort in exchange for no
payment (a social market) than they expend when they
receive low payment (a monetary market)....

link to paper

447 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 342419 16-Jun-2010 18:27
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You would be surprised the number of students that need work experience & have to go for volunteer jobs because they can't get paid employment (especially last summer). It's not really something you can avoid either. Some degrees need work experience, if you can't get it that's your problem.

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Wannabe Geek

  Reply # 342443 16-Jun-2010 20:20
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I don't see anything wrong with volunteering job.
There are so many people that are on social benefit. They can use their time more efficiently, I believe.

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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 342464 16-Jun-2010 21:51
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Kyanar: Local government, what were you expecting?

They seem to believe that they'll have as much luck getting volunteers as the district health boards do, because "we're government too!" I guess.

Its not local government, its a company (CIAL) owned by a company (CCHL) owned by a council (CCC).

647 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 342501 16-Jun-2010 23:28
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I think volunteering is a great idea and I admire the people who give their time freely to help others. But there are many community initiatives & non profit organisations that are probably looking for volunteers all the time. But why is a big company trying to get people to work for free. What NonprayingMantis wrote does make a lot of sense, but it still doesn't seem right to me.

I'm slightly worried other "exciting" companies to work will try the same thing, and that using volunteers will be more appealing than using paid temps. Nobody wants to pay for anything these days I guess. Maybe I'm taking this far too far (with extra helpings of paranoia), but will school leavers have to worry that their first job will entail "volunteering" for a company?

To me this sounds like one of those jobs where 95% of your time is telling people where to find toilets and luggage. I know it's supposed to be something else but I doubt it will be quite so glamorous. I don't know how you retain volunteers in this type of role over the long term and how you keep them turning up for their required shifts. Will be interesting to see how CIAL goes with this project...

281 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 342514 17-Jun-2010 00:23
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If you can't get another job then doing volunteer work like this is a great way to pad out your CV and prove to a potential employer that you would rather be out doing something useful even if you don't get paid for it rather than sat at home playing Xbox or WOW.

Usually see it more with charities though, but I guess with corporates there is always the chance to get a foot in the door if other paying jobs there come up.

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