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Should You Take Part In Unpaid Work Experience?


If you are just commencing your career or have been out of the workforce for a while, you may wish to consider volunteering in a workplace.

There are plenty of reasons for taking on unpaid work and here are just a few:

  • Improve your understanding of the workplace environment and what employers expect.
  • Explore jobs or industries that interest you to inform future career and study choices.
  • Develop your skills, both technical and employability skills (such as teamwork and punctuality). These can be very useful as examples of your work in future job applications.
  • Gain referees who you can ask to provide references for future job or study applications.
  • Gain a network of contacts for future study and career advice.

Ok, you are willing to take on unpaid work, now it’s time to decide which type of work you are interested in or what industries are booming now or have been identified as expanding in the future.

Put together your resume. If you are a school or university leaver with no previous experience, you can use your school or university results/transcripts.

Ask friends and relatives if they know anywhere where they could give an introduction or provide you a ‘foot in the door.’

Research companies on the internet to send your letter and resume to them or better still, drop in and give it to them in person.

Visit your State volunteering centre who will provide you with opportunities and further information.

Not all work experience can be worthwhile. You’ll need to find out beforehand if you will be exposed to all facets of the business and will receive induction and training. Make sure you aren’t just being taken on to do the extra work no one else wants to do and become aware of the lawful unpaid work guidelines available through the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Also take care to enquire if the employer’s insurance covers you for accident or disability.

Once you have secured your work experience placement, make sure you are an asset to your employer by doing any work assigned to a high standard and co-operating with all their workplace policies and procedures. You may receive a great reference or even secure a place within their organisation.