Young people are a critical element of the future of St John Ambulance Australia. What is often overlooked is that young people are also a critical element of St John today. Members aged 12–26 years are a vital part of St John’s current workforce, making up 42.5% of all volunteers in 2018. The 2018 National Youth Member Survey (NYMS) sends some clear messages to the organisation about the areas that St John is succeeding in its engagement with young people and areas for improvement. Moving forward, St John must ensure that it caters well for a diverse workforce today to ensure that we remain relevant and strong into the future.
Again in 2018, the St John Australian Youth Advisory Network (AYAN) advocates to our leaders that we must do more than just listening and receiving reports about the experiences of their young Members. St John must show our young Members that they have been heard by acting on those areas that need care and attention—actions speak louder than words. Our young Members are listening and looking to our leaders to address the issues that they are experiencing that make engaging with St John less enjoyable. AYAN advocates that our leaders make 2019 a year for making change and taking action to address those areas that young people themselves have identified as priorities for the organisation. We ask that leaders show our young Members that they are valued Members and that their voice matters. Actions and change do not need to all occur at once—change doesn’t happen overnight—but we must collectively start to make improvements across the board or our young Members will leave.
The St John Ambulance Australia NYMS was initially conducted in 2016 and has become an annual activity of the AYAN with the support of the Australian Office. The NYMS aims to act as a thermometer—one that checks the temperature of youth satisfaction across several priorities in our organisation. The results and recommendations of this checkup are made available to St John entities across the country so that they can consider its recommendations and take action to address areas where the organisation needs to be doing better, at their discretion. The 2018 NYMS is compared against the results of the 2017 and 2016 surveys, and aims to measure how the organisation is tracking across 10 key areas:
7. Career progression
9. Valuing members
10. Respondents’ future in St John.