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Volunteer traineeship

ABA offers the 10998NAT Certificate IV in Breastfeeding Education to those who commit to volunteer with us as a breastfeeding counsellor or educator.

The Certificate IV qualification is delivered through a volunteer traineeship which is a blend of course work and practical volunteering.   

As a volunteer trainee, you build your skills and knowledge through: 

  • coursework 
  • on-the-job training, including a minimum 150 hours of volunteering with ABA 
There's a lot to find out before you take up the traineeship. Our course information module explains all the details you will need to know about our training and volunteering plus the requirements and commitment involved. Access the module below:

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Becoming an ABA volunteer information webinar

Frequently asked questions about volunteering

What is the volunteering commitment once I qualify?

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 educator, you agree to:

  • remain a financial member of ABA
  • remain active in the Association for at least 2 years after being appointed
  • Breastfeeding counsellors agree to participate at least 8 hours each month on the National Breastfeeding Helpline roster
  • Breastfeeding educators agree to participate at least 8 hours each month on the LiveChat roster alongside selected 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?
What is the commitment during training?

As a volunteer trainee, you learn on-the-job, including a work placement of 150 hours (minimum) of volunteering with ABA; usually at local group level. If there is no active local group in your area, there are other options for participation. You will be required to complete guided Reflective Journals for 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 online live training sessions (or face-to-face workshops where available)
  • complete 150 hours (minimum) of volunteering.

You will undertake a Practicum (supported practical work) before being appointed as a breastfeeding counsellor or educator.

What if I live too far from an ABA group or my group isn't active?

Every member of ABA is allocated to a group based on their postcode. Some members live too far from where their group meets to be able to travel often to attend activities. Some members live remotely and their group provides virtual support. From time to time some groups are less active and may not be able to run activities for their members. 

All parts of the course (volunteering and training) are able to be completed even if you don't live near a group. Attending a local group is an easy way to pick up volunteer hours but there are online activities you can join and plenty of other ways to volunteer - we have a whole list. You can also run social activities for mums in your local community once you are a little way into your training and feel confident. 

How do I find my ABA group?

When you become an ABA member, your group name will be visible on your My ABA page. Before that you can find your nearest group by using the map function (at the top of the page).

If you live remotely and your postcode doesn't bring up a result, try searching for the nearest larger centre. Alternatively you can contact the course coordinator - 

I already have experience in supporting breastfeeding mothers. Do I have to do the course to volunteer with ABA?

Our course is designed to train our volunteers in all aspects of the Association's work, not just providing lactation support. Each unit has ABA policies and procedures embedded into it and having a practical understanding of these is essential before being appointed to our volunteer team.

In addition, government funding of the National Breastfeeding Helpline requires that our volunteers hold the Certificate IV in Breastfeeding Education. ABA offers Recognition of Prior Learning for whole units. 

Frequently asked questions about the course

Who is eligible to do this course?

To be eligible for our 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 breastfeeding educator you:

  • must have awareness of the importance of breastfeeding and understand the mother-baby relationship
  • can be a male or female.
What is the course structure?

To achieve the qualification 10998NAT Certificate IV in Breastfeeding Education, you complete 9 units:

  • 6 core units
  • 3 electives

Read more about the course structure.

How is the training delivered?

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

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

What kind of assessment will I do?

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

  • observations
  • oral tasks: 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.

What technology will I need to do the course?

You are required to have a computer/laptop and internet access during your training.

A minimum standard device suitable for most courses can:

  • use a system such as Windows 7 or later, Mac OS X 10.10 or above
  • enable the use of a web camera and headset.
  • run programs to view videos, create documents, spreadsheets and presentations
  • run a modern browser (e.g. current versions of Chrome, Firefox or Safari).
Smartphones and tablets are not sufficient to meet these requirements.
What does the training cost?

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. 

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 if you don't complete 2 units in the enrolment period. 

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 (in some states) of a Working with Children 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 subject to the group's financial status and the trainee's fundraising input.

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 information for your state or territory:

What are the government requirements for the course?
Working with Children Check

Applicants must also be prepared to undergo a Working with Children Check or equivalent. In some states, volunteers are exempt from charges for these checks.

Unique Student Identifier (USI)

Every VET student must have a USI before 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.

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 the result from 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 breastfeeding counsellor, 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

ABA is committed to providing a safe, inclusive, and respectful learning environment. 

See our Training policies

Download our general information booklet for all ABA courses, below:


Before you can enrol...

Already a financial member? 

Read the steps below and then proceed to the enrolment page. You will need to be logged in.

Enrolling in the Certificate IV in Breastfeeding Education involves these steps:

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1. View our Becoming a breastfeeding counsellor or educator information module (see above)

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2. Complete volunteer induction activities

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3. Apply for a Working With Children Check.

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4. Complete a Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) assessment

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5. Have the volunteer traineeship discussion with an ABA trainer

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6. Complete the enrolment form

Ready to enrol?