My time with ACON

Work PlacementDay 1 (Tue. 6th Aug.)

I started at ACON (AIDS Council of NSW) today at 10am. I was about 10 minutes early so I was able to get reacquainted with staff from reception and level 2. Michael hadn’t turned up yet, but Danny was there and able to get me set up at my usual workstation. Before I turned up I had a chat with Maria on the phone so I could sort out the paperwork which is still needed, was told it should be emailed to me ASAP.
Until Michael turned up I was able to log onto my email so I could wait for the forms. When he did finally turn up I was set to work on writing up Tweets for Danny in regards to the Honour Awards for this year. I spent the better part of the day going between a variety of websites including emails, acon, Honour 2013 and SX Magazine. I also had to use Excel to make a list of creative Tweets. Email came into it because I had to have last year’s ideas sent to me so I didn’t run the risk of repeating last year’s Honour Tweets (of which were mine anyhow).

After I had about 20+ ideas written I then had to arrange them into an order for when they would be Tweeted, this list was emailed to Danny in the afternnon. Once he had received them and had a look at what I had given him that was it for my first day.

I didn’t know where Michael was for about 2 hours or so during my time there but that’s all that was needed from me for the first day. I shut down my station at roughly 2pm and was able to go home.

Four hours logged on ….. 36hrs to go.

Day 2 (Tue. 20th Aug.)

Last week I was really sore and couldn’t walk properly since I was injured about 2 weeks previous. So I rang Michael to let him know that I wasn’t coming in, he was cool with that so he said just to rest up and come in the following week. Its now a week on from that and its back to doing more of the communications and media side to the Honour Awards.

Today I arrived at ACON about 10:40am, and proceeded to level 2 as usual. Michael wasn’t at his desk but I knew how to log on (password, etc.)

Today was more of the same as last time except that the posts I was creating weren’t for Twitter, but for Facebook instead. This needed a creative mindset for the given task. Once I had typed up about a dozen or so I was then ready to email them to Danny.

Three more hours logged on ….. 33hrs to go.

Day 3 (Tue. 10th Sept.)

Been really tired lately but that’s to be expected ….. Michael was in a suit today, he was having to interview prospective employees to fill a position that had become recently vacant. Danny had left the team so there in lay the vacancy.

Got in at 10am to start doing more for Honour but there was nothing for me to do in the office today so I was put to work on the streets. I was giving out Honour posters to businesses to display them so as to boost ticket sales for the event. This is due to the event date being so close now.

It was a really hot day for this too (around 30 degrees). So I was given 30 posters to distribute to businesses in the Darlinghurst area. I got a 372 bus to Cleveland St. & Crown St. in Surry Hills and started walking from there.

Five more hours logged on ….. 28hrs to go.

Day 4 (Tue. 17th Sept.)

Arrived about 10:00am and its back to it (or so I thought).

I logged on with the expectation of a great deal to do until Michael told me that there wasn’t anything for me to do since everyone had there own things to do in the last days for the lead up to Honour Awards. He told me that David might have something for me to do when he arrives at 1:00pm. Until then I had a few hours where I could catch up on other things or surf the web for other stuff to fill in time (not very productive, I know).

When David did finally arrive I had to give him about 5 minutes to sort out work for Ray to do for Tuesday night Bingay. When he was ready we went upstairs to the storeroom to the electrical cords and other light fixtures to take to the event. These were located on the floor above which I had no swipe pass to go between floors in the building, so he left me with his temporarily. Once I had put them onto the large table and handed him back his pass he had nothing else for me to do, and so that was it for another day.

Another Four hours down ….. 24hrs left.

Day 5 (Tue. 8th Oct.)

Spring Break is over and its back to the daily grind of my regular week. Its now the day after the Labour Day long weekend, and its business as usual.

I have arrived back at ACON to continue my workplacement arrangement. It has started off a little slow this morning and we’re coming up to the next big event on the calendar here ….. the Red Ribbon Appeal.

The morning started a little slow since I had to wait for Tim to arrive around 11am.  Tim is the Events & Fundraising Officer at ACON, and the task he has given me to do to start the ball rolling is to contact businesses on the half dozen page list they have.

I got through roughly a third of the list today.

Four more hours logged ….. 20hrs to go.

Day 6 (Wed. 9th Oct.)

I decided yesterday, I would come in twice this week just to continue with the list of business contacts for the Red Ribbon Appeal.

It was pretty much the same as I was doing yesterday, only this time I came in at noon instead of 10am.  I got quite a fair way through the list this time, yet most of the contacts on the list were cafes, etc. so some of those were in the lunch hour rush.

Three more hours this week ….. 17hrs left.

Day 7 (Tue. 15th Oct.)

When I arrived at reception this morning I was told that there was a workplace meeting/ training session on level 3.  I was able to go up and join in to see what was happening with that today since Michael was going to be there anyhow.

When the speaker had finished I saw Michael duck out and decided I would follow him into the hall.  When I caught up with him we went downstairs to level 2 and I was able to continue the work I was doing last week.  This time I got almost to the end of the list making the phone calls and requested emails to businesses who asked for them.  The only ones I decided I would leave off the list today was all the other cafes, etc.

Next week I might go through the list and update details that need amending so that it will be up to date for ACON.

There’s another Four Hours ….. 13hrs left.

Day 8 (Tue. 22nd Oct.)

Straight back into it again for another week, and the long list of businesses to contact for the Red Ribbon Appeal.  Now that I’m right near the bottom of the list it is getting to the point of sorting out which businesses are still selling for us and which one’s are not.

Halfway through the day I had already finished doing the contacting via phone and email that it was time for lunch then the re-writing of the new list.  The list is slightly shorter than last year, yet most businesses have said yes.  I have also included a new column to the new list for email contact so we don’t have the same issues again in 2014.

Five more hours down ….. 8hrs to go.

Day 9 (Tue. 29th Oct.)

Today I arrived at 10am to finish off the contact list for the Red Ribbon Appeal Business List.  I logged on my usual terminal to get started on the updating of the list, before I could do so however.  I had to go through the list just to make sure I don’t put certain businesses on the list twice by accident.  With my trusty pen in hand I ticked off the businesses I had already entered onto the spreadsheet.

There were still quite a few businesses which I have been unable to get a straight answer from, but that’s normal since most of them were restaurants and cafes, and these are usually busy during certain hours of the day.

Once I had entered as many businesses as I could I logged into my email account so I could email the new list to Tim Ball Events & Fundraising Coordinator for ACON.

After this there was the next task to do which is to make the Ribbon packs for businesses to put on their counters.

Since I have been feeling a little under the weather lately I also had to remember to take my medicine during the mid part of the day.  I took this about 12:30pm/ 1:00pm and by nearly 2pm I was starting to feel the effects of it, so I started packing up and called it a day.

Four Hours left to go next week.

Day 10 (Tue. 5th Nov.)

The last of the 40 hours begins this week, and now we’re in the thick of making the Red Ribbon packs for businesses.  All the computer work is over for me here and so the frantic pack making goes on so the businesses from the list I had been dealing with for the past few weeks will get the merchandise this month.

Boxes, boxes, boxes … filled with ribbons, pins & wristbands each with all their set prices:

  • Ribbons – $2
  • Wristbands – $5
  • Normal Pins – $5
  • Diamante Pins – $10

The boxes are also looking a little different this too.  Turned inside out and having new labels put on them.

This is the campaign which ACON have been running during this year.  I don’t have the actual label to put on here, yet they will be seen all over the city.  Most of the businesses from the list are located in Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Enmore, Erskineville and Newtown.  ACON is not only located in Sydney however, there are also other offices outside of the city like Illawarra & Wollongong.

When I had made at least a couple dozen of these boxes I was able to take a short break to stretch.  This was when I ran in to Tim Ball who said he also had another job for me when I came back to it again.  Someone had asked if we could make 314 little bags of 5 ribbons per bag.

Now that the 40 hours of work placement are over, it does not mean that I will just stop going to help out as a volunteer.  There is always going to be something that they may need a hand with during this month in the lead up to World AIDS Day.  I have also put in my interest to volunteer for the event itself as a team leader.  I’m not exactly sure where I will be located yet but I should know soon enough.

Although the diary is now finished below are the assessments:

  • Description of organisation
  • Process for obtaining workplacement
  • Tasks undertaken
  • Analysis of skills & knowledge gained
  • How it has affected my career goals


Organisation for my Workplacement

ACON (AIDS Council of NSW) is a leading health promotion organisation they specialise in HIV and LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender & Intersexual) health.  It was incorporated in 1985, and recognised as an innovative, successful organisation adapting to changes in the HIV epidemic.

Their main mission objectives are:

  • Ending HIV transmission among gay and other sexually active men.
  • Promoting the health, throughout life, of LGBTI people and others living with HIV.

How I obtained the Workplacement

I have been involved with volunteering for ACON since 2003, mainly helping during the Red Ribbon Appeal which coincides with World AIDS Day on 1st December each year.  I have come to know many of the people who work for, or volunteer with ACON over this time.

Last year I approached them in relation to being able to help out a bit more.  I mentioned that I was studying at Tafe (Ultimo campus) doing Cert. IV Communication & Media, I was put in touch with Michael Badorrek who is in charge of the Media and Communication department on level 2.  I was told to get in contact with him again in July when they were preparing for Honour 2012 which was their next big event.  From there I was also helping out with other events which were upcoming during the next few months.  The next event was the Birthday of Bingay on September 4th which was being run at the Imperial Hotel in Erskinville.  After these events had finished there was only one more major event left for the year, this was the Red Ribbon Appeal.

So this year, I will be going to help out again in the same department.

Tasks and Roles involved

This is also being treated like a volunteer position so I don’t have any set hours.  I could be there for about 3 – 4 hours every Tuesday.

The main tasks involved are:

  • Data entry (Creative Tweets and Facebook posts for Honour Awards and other events)
  • Emails to other staff and businesses
  • Making Telephone calls to businesses on behalf of ACON
  • Face-to-Face contact with business owners and/ or other staff
  • Attending a Staff Training Day
  • Organising Red Ribbon Packs for businesses (Red Ribbon Appeal/ World AIDS Day)
  • Set up for upcoming events

Not all of these tasks are given by Michael Badorrek, some are from staff in other sections.  For instance, Bingay is run by David (aka Dot), and the Red Ribbon Appeal is run by Tim Ball.

Skills & Knowledge Gained

Over the semester I have gained a variety of new skills with most of them being on campus.  Since I started the workplacement however, I’m not really sure if I have learned anything new from it this year since I had done the same thing with ACON last year.

I’m not really sure if it has affected my goals for the future as yet because I am also still waiting for a response from UTS about the course I have applied for earlier this year for 2014.

This doesn’t mean I haven’t really gained anything from this experience though.  As you can see I have listed the tasks (or skills) above which were very easy things for me to do.  They had other people like Danny who was the one I had to email the Twitter and Facebook posts to so they could be entered onto those pages.  I have had previous employment which dealt with telephone calls (in other words Good Telephone Manner), staff meetings, and contact with other businesses face to face (being the new one this time around).

The people I met during ‘My time with ACON’ were some of the loveliest people I have known in a work environment.  I found them very welcoming and warm hearted and easy to work with.  I have always had a good rapport with ACON ever since 2003 when I started volunteering with them during the Red Ribbon Appeal.

I believe Event Management might be a path I could take with this career move after university.  The Red Ribbon Appeal is always the event in which I like to solidify a Team Leadership position.  I have done this the last two years running and will again when we take to the streets to sell Red Ribbon Merchandise.

Maybe after the Red Ribbon Appeal this year I might try to look for other paid work in the Media/ Communication field during university.  I’m not exactly sure where that will be but I will have to have a look during the Summer Holiday.

Career Goals

My career goals as I have stated above are a working progress toward the possibility of Event Management.  This will be something I am going to have to work on over the coming months.


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