What is Volunteering? | Youth Central

Volunteering is a great way to:

  • Contribute to your community
  • Learn new skills
  • Build up your work experience
  • Make new friends
  • Have fun

The rewards you get for putting something back into your community are limitless.

Types of volunteering

When choosing where to volunteer, it helps to pick an area that interests you or where you would like to make a difference in your community. Some ideas for volunteering include:

  • Working on an environmental project in your local area
  • Visiting a sick or elderly person
  • Joining a volunteer emergency services group (like the CFA or the SES)
  • Delivering meals to elderly people or people with a disability
  • Getting involved in human rights and social justice

For other ideas about where to volunteer and what you could do, visit:

Volunteering gives you work experience

Volunteering is an excellent way to learn new skills. It can also help add experience to your resume if it's looking a little thin. 

As a volunteer you can show employers you:

  • Can take the initiative
  • Can work independently and as part of a team
  • Have a positive attitude towards work
  • Are community-minded

Sometimes paid work can become available at an organisation where you're volunteering. You might also meet other volunteers who can help you find work through their own networks.

Don't get exploited

When you're volunteering, it's important to remember that volunteers are not a substitute for paid workers. Be aware of employers who might try to use volunteers as cheap or free labour.

The I Can Do That! website has some information about the rights and responsibilities of volunteers, which include the right to:

  • A healthy and safe environment
  • An orientation or induction session
  • Be provided with training and supervision
  • Say "no" if you're uncomfortable or think you're being exploited
  • Not work in a position previously held by a paid worker

Visit our rights at work section for more information about your rights at work and what you can do if you think you're getting taken advantage of or ripped off.

Age requirements and police checks

A lot of volunteer positions require you to be 18 or older, but there are still plenty of opportunities around for younger people. Unless it's clearly stated that you have to be 18 or over, it's safe to assume that it's OK to apply for a volunteer position.

Some organisations, especially those that work with children, require a police check or a Working with Children check. If this kind of check is required, the organisation you're volunteering for can usually organise it for you.

Volunteering overseas

While there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer in your own backyard, there's a whole world out there seeking volunteers to help with a multitude of projects and programs.

Volunteering overseas is a great way to combine your wanderlust and passion for making a positive impact on the world. A quick online search will turn up heaps of organisations that can find overseas volunteer placements for you.

Before you sign up for anything, though, make sure you check out the tips and advice on the Volunteering Overseas page of the Australian Government's Smartraveller website. You should also visit our Travelling overseas pages.


I Can Do That
Information from the Victorian Government for volunteers and volunteer organisations.

Volunteering Victoria
Find out about volunteering opportunities near you and how you can get involved.

General information about volunteering and a directory of volunteer opportunities in your area.

Environmental Volunteering
How to get involved in environmental volunteering in Victoria and available grants