What can volunteers do?

Australian volunteers are an important part of Australia's aid program. They contribute their knowledge, skills, time and goodwill to making a difference to the lives of people in developing countries.

From a midwife in Cambodia to a business development mentor in Indonesia, Australian volunteers contribute a wide range of skills and professional expertise to Australia's aid program.

Volunteers also play an important public diplomacy role by building links between Australians and people in our region.

While each volunteer brings their own knowledge and talents to the Australian Volunteers program, their common focus is on supporting organisations in developing countries by:

  • providing technical advice or subject matter expertise
  • working directly with a counterpart in the partner organisation
  • undertaking team mentoring
  • improving systems, policies, processes and staff training and development.

Volunteers are selected through a competitive, merit-based recruitment process for specific assignments with partner organisations in developing countries. Volunteer assignments are developed in line with Australian Government priorities.

Read Australia's development policy and strategic framework for the aid program

What skills are needed?

Skilled and experienced Australians from a diverse range of occupations and ages participate in volunteering, ranging from surf lifesavers and youth workers to business analysts and transport planners.

The most common areas of expertise required of volunteers are:

  • Health
  • Education and training
  • Community and social development
  • Communications and media
  • Management, administration and human resources
  • Business, marketing and tourism
  • Finance and economics
  • Disaster and emergency management
  • Information technology
  • Agriculture, forestry and fisheries
  • Law and justice
  • Engineering
  • Skilled trades

Australian volunteers share some common personal attributes that equip them to deal with the challenges of living and working in a developing country. These include adaptability, resilience, initiative and the ability to work with people from different cultures and backgrounds.

Last Updated: 4 January 2018