We’re a pretty multilingual bunch here at CommBank with over 40 languages spoken across the Group. As part of our ongoing support in response to the pandemic, and in partnership with NSW Health, we put a call out for volunteers as language support for non – English speaking members of the public who reached out to the COVID-19 support line. The hands of more than 300 of our people went up.

So far, our volunteers have assisted with over 500 calls in a variety of languages from Spanish to Mandarin, Korean, and Arabic. Being able to help our community in such a critical time is one of the many reasons why our people found this experience so rewarding.

Originally from Spain, Jorge from our Business Banking team understands the importance of everyone having access to the same information. Knowing the struggle of moving to a new country that doesn’t speak your first language, Jorge was happy to volunteer to support NSW Health. “I do this to help others like I did with my parents over the years, but it also brings me closer to my heritage when I’m able to use my mother tongue. The response I received from people knowing that there was support out there brought a smile to my face. Thanks to CommBank for letting me play a small part in this role helping others.”

Jacqueline from Business Banking also has a passion for languages having lived and worked in many countries, and knows the difficulties that language barriers can cause. “When CommBank announced this volunteering opportunity, I jumped at the chance to help. But also to play a part during a significant moment in time, leaving the pandemic behind us.

“I’m grateful to CommBank for giving me the opportunity to work with the community. It makes me proud to contribute to society beyond my day job. It’s been a great learning experience and if other volunteering opportunities come up it will be something I will look to explore further.

Jennifer – Enterprise Architect, Technology

“The language support program is an amazing opportunity to help the community by simply staying on call during your shifts and offering your language skills when needed. Each call is a lovely surprise and by sparing 5-10 minutes of your time you’ve assisted with the COVID vaccine process. The first call is always the scariest but the NSW Health Officers were great support for us newbies!”

Katherine – Financial Services Graduate

Hearing these stories is a great reminder of the importance in giving our people time to support their communities.