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About school students as volunteers – information for volunteer-involving organisations

This information is for volunteer-involving organisations (host organisations) who want to set up a student volunteer program with Department for Education schools, preschools or children’s centres (schools). 

Once you’ve decided you want to involve student volunteers, you can read Getting ready for student volunteers - information for host organisations

Involving students as volunteers has many benefits including offering practical opportunities for schools and host organisations to connect and share their purpose and passions. 

It recognises that children learn best with real-life experiences and hands-on activities. 

To encourage and support schools and organisations to develop student volunteering programs the department has developed some useful resources, including this page.  More resources are available on the Student volunteers page.

Student volunteer programs are a part of formal learning and happen during school hours.  

Programs might take place:

  • with a group of students
  • individual students
  • on school grounds
  • at host organisation venues.
     

Programs might be an hour a fortnight, half a day, each day for a week or even an hour or two every term. It’s up to host organisations and school staff to work together to decide what’s best.  

You can download a checklist to help involve school students as volunteers.

Types of host organisations

The types of organisations that can take on student volunteers include:

  • not-for-profit organisations like registered charities, refugee associations or animal shelters
  • community organisations who are not-for-profit and whose work has direct benefits to the community, like a service club, community centre or an organisation involved in advocacy 
  • social enterprises – businesses that trade to intentionally tackle social problems, improve communities or help the environment
  • local council volunteer programs like graffiti removal, youth advisory committees or helping with events
  • public sector agencies such as education, the environment or health, like at a school, a museum, national park, aged care facility or hospital. 

Benefits to organisations 

Organisations have the opportunity to:

  • be involved in the education, wellbeing and skill development of young people
  • learn from young people who see things from a different perspective 
  • provide staff development through interaction and engagement with young people
  • find new volunteers for their organisation 
  • promote goodwill in the community through closer links with young people and schools.

Linking volunteer programs to learning goals

Host organisations are encouraged to link student volunteer programs to the learning and wellbeing goals of the students. Structured volunteer activities can be organised in consultation with the teacher. This could include linking volunteering to different subject areas.   

Duty of care

Everyone has a role to play in making sure children and young people are safe. Schools have a duty of care to their students and to protect them from any reasonably foreseeable risk of harm. This duty goes beyond school grounds and includes when students volunteer as part of formal learning. 

Volunteer-involving organisations also have a duty of care to all volunteers. The standard of care expected for student volunteers might be higher than for other volunteers due to their young age.

Our schools will work with host organisations to make sure risk management processes are integrated into the planning and implementation of volunteering activities. This includes:

  • assessing the organisation’s suitability to have students under 18 years of age 
  • induction and supervision arrangements
  • appropriateness of volunteer tasks and settings
  • determining suitability of the volunteer roles for the students.

The school will arrange a school staff member to be on site during group volunteering activities.  

Students in a Flexible Learning Options (FLO) program 

Students in a FLO program might volunteer without a school staff member present. For these students, make sure a school staff member has set up appropriate supervision arrangements with you.
 

Contact

Student volunteer program – we'd like to hear from you

If you found these student volunteer resources useful or have ideas for us, please get in contact.

Volunteers – Engagement and Wellbeing directorate

Phone: 8226 3795
Email: education.volunteers [at] sa.gov.au (subject: Student%20volunteer%20program%20feedback)