Finding true purpose: Insights from those who care at Cardinia Shire Council

Here at Cardinia Shire Council, doing meaningful work isn’t just a catchline; it’s a daily reality for its people. The council carries out its work with a profound sense of purpose. Whether it’s Belinda in Maternal Health Services, Natalie in the workshop at the Operations Centre, or Miranda in Youth Services – each employee across Cardinia’s diverse range of services is bound by one goal: a commitment to improving people’s lives and the liveability of the Shire.

Support when it counts

Meaningful work means doing something that connects with your values, keeps you engaged, and makes you feel like your day-to-day contributions are recognized and appreciated. For Belinda, Team Leader at Maternal and Child Health Services, this means showing up when times get tough. This was especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic when she saw how frontline employees banded together and worked for the greater good.

“During that first year of the pandemic, there was a lot of uncertainty,” Belinda reflects. “I was working clinically on the front line, doing home visits to new families, seeing really young babies with the limited service that we were able to offer face-to-face. It’s work that fills your cup, so to speak.”

The pandemic unveiled the true mettle of Cardinia Shire Council. The council prioritizes not just the services it provides to the community but also the well-being of its employees. It’s this commitment that has made Belinda’s work at Cardinia Shire Council more than just a job – it’s an unwavering dedication to the community she serves.

“The council as a whole definitely made sure they were putting all the right steps in place. They supported not only those people working from home, keeping the regular business activities running, but also those of us in face-to-face roles out in the community.”

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More than just a job

Natalie Mayall, qualified Diesel Mechanic at Cardinia’s Operations Centre, finds deep meaning in the variety of her daily tasks. Whether she’s tackling a repair job, honing her welding skills, or devising innovative solutions, she thrives on the ever-shifting challenges that come with her role.

“It’s not the same thing every day, which keeps it interesting and fresh,” she says. “I enjoy the opportunity to think outside the box, solve problems, and take on new challenges.”

But it’s not just completing tasks and learning new skills that’s important for Natalie. The glue that brings it all together is the satisfaction she gets from helping others.

“Some of my proudest moments are when someone has come in with a problem, it might be late in the afternoon or it’s something that needs to be done urgently, and I’ve stepped in and said, ‘Let me help you.’ Even if it might be a menial task, being able to help someone else, seeing their gratitude, and knowing I’ve made a positive difference – it’s incredibly rewarding.”

Natalie credits the success of the service she provides to the collective efforts of the team around her. She emphasizes the pride she feels in working with individuals who share a commitment to their work.

“I don’t think any of our guys here just rock up to get the paycheque,” she says. “They all take immense pride in their work, which people in the public might not necessarily see. All the people I’ve got to know over the years, they’re not just colleagues; I consider them my close friends.”

Finding a calling

As a Youth Engagement Officer, Miranda has spent over a decade in Youth Services at Cardinia Shire Council and has made a positive impact on countless young people’s lives. She has implemented numerous in-school programs and extracurricular activities, such as the Cardinia Pride Formal and the Be Ur Self group. Her legacy at Youth Services is characterised by her unwavering commitment to LGBTQIA+ rights and creating safe and inclusive spaces where young people can be themselves without fear of discrimination.

“For a lot of our young people, having a safe space where they can go at lunchtime and just hang out is crucial. The Gay Straight Alliance groups we set up at schools provide a safe haven where nobody needs to be outed. They can just come in, hang out, and engage in activities. It’s a space free of homophobia, where everyone is treated with respect.”

Miranda understands that in her role, even the smallest act can have the biggest impact on a young person’s life. That’s why she values the work she does and continues to lead the way in Youth Services.

“To be able to see the impact we have on young people’s lives is incredibly rewarding. People have said to me, ‘I don’t think I would be here today without the support I’ve gotten from the service.’ Those are the golden moments that have a big impact and keep me doing what I do every single day.”

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