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Volunteer traineeship

What is a volunteer traineeship?

ABA offers the course 10998NAT Certificate IV in Breastfeeding Education only to personal members of ABA who agree to undertake a volunteer traineeship.

As a volunteer trainee, you are like an apprentice. You build your skills and knowledge with:

  • coursework
  • on-the-job training, including a minimum 150-hour work placement with ABA

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for a volunteer traineeship you must:

  • have permanent residency in Australia and an Australian address
  • be a full voting member of the Australian Breastfeeding Association
  • be committed to the philosophies and principles of ABA
  • agree to abide by the ABA Code of Ethics
  • have no criminal convictions, such as fraud, any violent offences in the last 5 years or any offence involving children, that would preclude or prohibit you from working with children or babies
  • commit to working as a volunteer with the Association - both during your training and for at least two years after qualifying.

To be appointed as a breastfeeding counsellor you must also have:

  • personal experience of breastfeeding a baby, reflecting ABA philosophies and principles
  • breastfed a baby for 6 months and continue after introducing solids

To be appointed as community educator you:

  • can be a male or female
  • must have extensive contact and experience with breastfeeding mothers. Personal breastfeeding experience is highly regarded.

Commitment after qualifying

We sponsor your training and invest considerable resources to help you complete your volunteer traineeship. In return, we expect you to commit to volunteering with ABA for at least two years part-time after you complete your course.

Once appointed as a breastfeeding counsellor or community educator, you agree to:

  • remain a financial member of ABA
  • remain active in the Association for at least 2 years after being appointed
  • accept the role of group leader when required
  • Breastfeeding counsellors also agree to participate monthly on the National Breastfeeding Helpline roster
  • Breastfeeding educators also agree to participate monthly on the LiveChat roster alongside selected community education events

Questions to think about:

  • How will my role in ABA fit in with other priorities in my life?  
  • Do I have work or other commitments which are expected to increase?
  • How will my family feel about the amount of my time I will be committing?

Costs of training

Tuition fees

The value of a Certificate IV course is around $2500. Members who agree to work as volunteers for the Association for a specified timeframe receive an exemption from tuition fees. We also get funding from the Australian Government for training of breastfeeding counsellors to staff the National Breastfeeding Helpline.

You will still pay an administration fee.

Administration fee

There is a non-refundable initial enrolment fee of $120. That includes the cost of course materials.

This is not a tuition fee. It covers part of the cost of administering your volunteer traineeship. This is a reduced fee made possible through funding from the Australian Government.

Enrolment extensions (if needed):

  • $90, if you have completed 2 or more units in your previous enrolment period
  • $250 otherwise

Personal membership of ABA

You are required to maintain financial personal membership of ABA during your training and while working as a volunteer for ABA.

Additional costs

Other costs may include:

  • cost of a Working with Children or equivalent check
  • incidental telephone, internet and/or postage costs related to training or ABA workplace activities
  • stationery and computer-related costs
  • personal copies of basic breastfeeding books if purchased
  • travel to training meetings, workshops, community education events
  • registration/accommodation at conferences, seminars, workshops — sometimes local groups will pay these, but this is not always certain

If an applicant is experiencing financial hardship limited funds have been made available to ensure that this does not prohibit training with the Association.

State funding entitlements

Learners are advised to consider current and future training options, and government funding opportunities, which may be limited by undertaking training with the Association. Find state funding infomation for your state or territory:

Current volunteer traineeship exemptions

We are extremely aware that due to unforeseen events such as the global pandemic (COVID-19) and the recent Australian floods, you may have been unable to participate in and/or complete your training activities and/or your required volunteer hours.

We want to assure you that we are keen for you to continue to train and volunteer with ABA and do not want you to withdraw if you would like to remain involved with ABA.

Be reassured that we will make adjustments to your volunteer hours and provide financial support for your training, where needed.

 If you feel that this applies to your situation and are experiencing financial difficulty or hardship as a result of these events, please contact us at Training Administration via email or by calling us on (03)9690 4620 to find out how we can best support you.

Training delivery

We deliver blended training year-round supported by a learning management system. Your course content will be covered by e-learning modules and you will participate in live sessions (held by webinar or face to face) and on-the-job training to develop the skills you need.

You can start your training as soon as you ar accepted into the course. You will find it possible to fit your training into your busy life.

Our blended training delivery support learners to complete their training within 12-15 months. Most trainees complete the course part-time and take around 18 months. However, your completion date depends on your own training progress.

Commitment during training

As a volunteer trainee, you learn on-the-job, including a work placement of minimum 150 hours of volunteering with ABA, preferably at local group level. If there is no active local group in your area, your trainer will discuss with you other options for participation. You will be required to complete guided Reflective Journals on your volunteer activities with ABA as part of your course assessment.

During your training you agree to:

  • remain a financial member of the Association
  • participate in training activities, e.g. meetings, workshops, online study groups
  • complete a work placement of minimum 150 hours of volunteering
Upon completion of the course, you will undertake a Practicum (supported practical work) before being appointed as a breastfeeding counsellor or community educator.


To measure your performance, we use competency-based assessments, like:

  • observations
  • oral task: demonstrations and role plays
  • portfolios
  • practical projects
  • simulated workplace activities
  • written tasks

Your assessor will need evidence over a period of time that you are competent in a variety of volunteer tasks. This means we collect evidence about your work and judge you against set criteria for each task or assignment. We also look at how you apply your knowledge and skills to meet the standards within your work environment.

Legislative and RTO requirements

Working with Children Check

Applicants must also be prepared to undergo a police check and working with children check or equivalent.

In some states you can apply online. In others, you need to post hard-copy forms back and forth across the state. So get started as soon as you can.

In some states, volunteers are exempt from charges for these checks.

Unique Student Identifier (USI)

Every VET student must have a USI before your training provider (ABA) can issue a statement of attainment or qualification to you.

With a USI, you can go online and access your complete record - all in one place.

Please apply for your USI individually on the USI website before you enrol.

You will be asked to provide your USI on the enrolment form.

Victorian students numbers (VIC only)

  • If you are less than 25 years old and a Victorian resident, you need a Victorian Student Number (VSN) to enrol. This is a requirement of the Education and Training Reform Amendment Bill 2008.
  • If you don't have a Victorian Student Number, please contact Training Administration.

We are working with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development to allocate a Victorian Student Number (VSN) to each student at our organisation.

Language, literacy and numeracy skills assessment

You must complete a needs assessment for language, literacy and numeracy (LL&N) before you commence your course.

We use your LL&N assessment to establish your pre-existing skills and to help support your learning.

This is a requirement under the VET Quality Framework.


As part of your volunteer work as a counsellor, community educator or trainee, we publish your address and phone numbers in our confidential, internal directory. This means you may be contacted at home by mothers and community members. If this is an issue due to your work or personal circumstances, please contact Training administration

To find out more

See our:

We are committed to providing a safe, inclusive, and respectful learning environment. 

See our Training policies and procedures

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