Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do teachers get to see full volunteer resumes in advance of meeting them?
Teachers see short profiles of employee volunteers which the volunteers have filled in themselves. We take it on trust that individuals have been honest about their skills and experience. There are also legal terms and conditions that you must agree to before registration.
Can an individual sign up without employer backing?
Yes, about half of Inspiring the Future volunteers have signed up as individual as opposed to going through an employer of professional body scheme.
How old are volunteers?
They are aged 18 right up to retirement age, and we want people of all ages, levels and backgrounds. People in their 20’s are close in age to secondary school/college students who will be able to relate to them, but people with experience can also be invaluable to young people’s decision making.
You don’t need to be a confident public speaker as career insights and the other activities on Inspiring the Future are informal and you will have the support and presence of a teacher who knows the students. They involve talking about what you do every day, so it is subject matter that will be second nature! We offer tips and guidance if you need it. In an exceptional case where there appears to be a problem with someone talking about ‘the job they do’ we would just not match them with other schools/colleges.
Is a statutory child protection check needed?
Child protection is paramount.
Volunteering requirements vary with each state and in some cases they vary between public and non-government schools.
As at May 2017 in Victoria and the NT, a working with children check (WWCC) is essential for all occasional visiting guest speakers in government schools and in other states, it is either not required or dependent on the number of visits per year.
Regardless of school requirements, ITF requests that all volunteers remain under the supervision of a teacher at all times. That is, volunteers must not be left alone with students.
If you would like to volunteer more often than once a year or broaden the range of activities beyond guest speaking to a class, we strongly suggest that you obtain a "volunteer" child protection clearance. Online applications for volunteers are mostly free or require a token fee.
Teachers may be more willing to invite volunteers who have been formally cleared for entering school grounds in their state.
In all cases, visitors and volunteers should allow 15 minutes before the scheduled activity to comply with the school’s visitor requirements.
For more information please see the following links to each state’s child protection authority:
A Volunteer WWCC is free in most states.
This document contains the most recent detailed information sourced by the ITF Australia team for all states and territories
This document issued by the NSW Department of Education clearly states that ITF volunteer visitors in DET schools only need to present a photo ID before taking part in ITF school activities.
A company called Cited in WA provides a reasonably low cost service for volunteers who may be asked by a school to have a "Volunteer National Police Check" in addition to other checks required by each state/territory.
Will it replace existing face-to-face careers advice?
No, that is not the objective. Inspiring the Future Australia does offer face-to-face careers advice, guidance and information from volunteers but it is designed to be complementary to other government provided national careers provisions. It offers career insights to help inspire students.
Do you cover primary schools?
Inspiring the Future Australia will be rolled out to primary schools in 2017 under the name Primary Futures.
Will school alumni networks be involved?
When creating their individual profiles, volunteers can select their old school/college from a search list if they are interested in being approached about going back there to undertake an Inspiring the Future activity. Teachers will be able to search and invite volunteers into their old school/college.
How will we reach all regions? Especially rural areas where there are few employers?
We will use local and regional media and create a bank of local spokespeople over time. We can also use our stakeholder networks and large employers with branches, outlets or offices in regional areas.
We have also started asking volunteers if they want to be "Virtual Visitors" which allows rural area's Teachers to invite the volunteers to a "Virtual Visit" Via Skype or another video conferencing method.
How are you engaging SMEs in working with schools?
We do this through specific national campaigns and through our strong links with organisations such as work experience program providers, Group Training Organisations and representative peak bodies including Industry Skills Councils, Business Enterprise Centres, Chambers of Commerce and professional associations.
Why has something like this not been done before?
School volunteering programs, careers fairs and employers being involved in careers information is obviously not new but bringing together the worlds of education and employment in such a coherent way and having the innovative technology to enable all schools to search and contact matched volunteers directly, makes Inspiring the Future Australia so valuable.
Does anyone vet what employee volunteers say in their profile?
We take it on trust they have been honest about their skills and experience. There are also legal terms and conditions that they must agree to before registration. If we become aware that what they say is not accurate, we will remove the volunteers from the system.
Why don’t you vet people?
The Inspiring the Future system works by giving teachers access to a wide list of volunteers from different professions and the teacher chooses who they think is most appropriate to invite into the school/college. If on having been invited into the school/college a teacher has concerns about volunteer they are asked to notify the Inspiring the Future Australia team who will remove them from the system.
Will a student ever contact me?
No, only teachers or staff within a school/college
When should I expect to receive an invitation from a school/college?
As the program is in its initial stages in Australia, we can’t guarantee immediate matches for schools and volunteers. Once underway, we still can’t guarantee a specific timeline as it depends when schools/colleges need volunteers which can happen at any point during the academic year. In the UK, over 55,000 messages have been sent to date, and thousands of messages are being sent every week through the system with expected increases. Inspiring the Future Australia hopes to mimic this level of activity in the future.
How quickly would the school expect me to respond?
There’s not a specified response time, we do ask that volunteers and teachers respond to messages as quickly as possible. We would hope that a response would be made within a few days/a week.
What if I don’t hear anything from a school after a few months?
Unfortunately, sometimes a few volunteers won’t be contacted or will receive very few invitations. In this case we would recommend them logging in and updating their profile to put more information about themselves. Read our practical advice and tops tips on writing your profile. In our Resources section, there is other useful advice for maximising the number of invitations that you receive from schools/colleges and making the most of your school visit. Please let us know if you require further advice or assistance and we may be able to promote your profile to local schools.
I would like to give a talk at my child’s school/college. Can I check if the school/college is registered to the Inspiring the Future system?
Volunteers can’t see through the system what schools/college are signed up. However, in your individual profile, you could select your child’s school from a search list if you are interested in being approached about going back there to undertake an Inspiring the Future activity.
Who is most likely to volunteer with Inspiring the Future?
Anyone with experience of work can volunteer and thousands will. Teachers can search through lists of volunteers to find people with the right profiles for their students.
Will schools always want me to do day time events?
Requests will mostly be for careers fairs, assemblies and classroom sessions during the school day (9.00am to 3.30pm) but some schools and colleges also have early evening events. It is entirely up to volunteers to decide what time slots and dates they want to do.
Will people try to sell me goods and services?
This is not allowed under the terms and conditions that employee volunteers must agree to on registration. Anyone trying to sell anything will immediately be removed from the system or asked to stop.
Can I register on a tablet or mobile device
Yes you can!
While we cant guarantee that the website will work on every device, our thorough testing has all resulted in positive results.
If you do however encounter any problems using your mobile device, please contact us here and we will endeavor to solve any issues promptly
How is Inspiring the Future Australia funded?
The Schools Industry Partnership (SIP) is a small charity based in Western Sydeny with the mission "To inspire all young people to reach their full potential. SIP is self-funding the establishment of Inspiring the Future. We are grateful for support from concerned organisations such as the NSW Department of Education. Into the future, we will seek collaborations and or financial support from like minded organisations and partners to ensure its sustainability and growth.