Volunteer Warning on Work for the Dole
6 November 2014 at 9:37 am
Volunteering Victoria has voiced concern about the impact of the work for the dole scheme, which will compel some job seekers to take on volunteer roles to maintain their dole payments.
Volunteering Victoria’s CEO Sue Noble has told an International Volunteer Managers Day event hosted by the Bendigo Volunteer Resource Centre,that the value of skilled and experienced volunteer managers are facing many challenges in the rapidly evolving volunteering landscape.
“We recognise that the idea for compelling people to volunteer while on the dole is in part to encourage community engagement and foster job readiness, however, we need to carefully consider the impact on volunteer involving organisations, and in particular, on volunteer managers and coordinators,” Noble said.
“Most people become volunteers because of a personal connection to people or causes and a strong feel that they want to help and contribute to their community. Even with this good will and commitment, the management of a volunteer workforce is a complex task for volunteer managers,” she said, adding that the task becomes even more difficult if people come to volunteering reluctantly and are not necessarily suited to the organisation or the role.
“We in the volunteering sector also need to be careful that each of our organisations remain true to their purpose and reason for being.
“We need to think carefully about the impact additional volunteers (who might have significant training and support needs) might have on the workload of already stretched volunteer managers, the existing volunteer workforce and the organisation’s ability to deliver its services, especially when its likely there will be very little money to support work for the dole volunteers over the life of their placement.”
Noble said addressing preparation and training to ensure job seekers were “job ready” for volunteering, which brings with it rights and responsibilities, is also an area of concern.
“The volunteering sector has always embraced challenges and worked to foster strong communities where people help each other. We need to make sure we can support job seekers as volunteers properly if we are to take on this responsibility,” she said.
“This includes those who may have complex needs, remembering that we must respect and nurture our existing volunteer workforce and manage the resources of our already stretched organisations.”