Voluntary work

Volunteering provides an opportunity for you to develop professional networks, gain real-life experiences and build your skills.

Specific volunteer roles with direct relevance to industry or employment pathways are regularly advertised on Careers Online. These positions usually require you to complete and submit a formal application in order to be considered.

The University of Melbourne's Guidelines for Student Volunteering provides more information to assist you in finding an appropriate organisation and volunteer position.

Choosing a place to volunteer

Volunteering in a role that fits your interests, personal values and skill development goals will mean that your experience is more likely to be successful and rewarding. To help you make a decision, it's good to find out more about the organisation you are interested in volunteering with.

  • Find out what the organisation does: research website information, previous projects or annual reports to find out whether an organisation will be able to offer the experience you are looking for.
  • Learn more about what the organisation stands for: read their vision and mission statements to learn about their goals, values and long-term plans.
  • Research types of opportunities available: assess whether they match your skills and interests and whether there is an opportunity to develop transferable and professional skills and experience related to your discipline and area of interest.
  • Find out how the organisation supports volunteers: this includes supervision, training and mentoring opportunities.
  • Be realistic about your time commitment: think about how much time you are able to or willing to commit to the position. Are you looking for a volunteer position that is long term or short term, a one-off event or a continuing role? As a student it is recommended that you commit to no more than 10 to 16 hours per week.
  • Understand insurance: does the organisation have appropriate volunteer policies in place and insurance to cover you for the volunteer work you will be undertaking with them?

Volunteering on campus

Volunteering off campus

The following list provides examples of volunteering opportunities in the local and international community. There are many more opportunities to discover and we encourage you to do your own research.

  • Volunteer rights and responsibilities

    Unlike paid staff, volunteers are not covered by awards or workplace agreements. However, volunteers do have rights. Some of these rights are set out in legislation, but others are considered moral obligations between your volunteer agency and yourself.

    Your rights

    As a volunteer you have the right to:

    • a healthy, safe and non-discriminatory work environment
    • a volunteer position description
    • an orientation or induction session
    • be provided with sufficient training and supervision
    • be reimbursed for necessary out of pocket expenses
    • be protected by appropriate volunteer insurance
    • have your personal information dealt with in a confidential manner.

    Volunteering Australia outlines the basic rights of a volunteer, as well as providing a volunteer checklist.

    Your responsibilities

    As a volunteer you are expected to:

    • be punctual and reliable
    • be accountable and carry out the duties listed in your volunteer position description in a responsible and professional manner
    • give notice if your availability changes or you are leaving the organisation
    • respect confidentiality
    • adhere to the organisation's policies and procedures
    • undertake training as requested
    • ask for support when needed.

    For more information about your volunteer rights and responsibilities visit Volunteering Victoria and Volunteering Australia.

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