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Work for the dole

Work for the Dole activities provide eligible job seekers with work experience which helps job seekers to learn new skills and improve their chance of finding a job.

Work for the Dole activities can include volunteer work with not-for-profit organisations, or local, state, territory or Australian Government agencies.

From 1 July 2014, a new Work for the Dole programme will be phased in, in selected areas across Australia. Job seekers aged 18 to under 30 years who are registered with a Job Services Australia (JSA) provider in the selected areas and who have a Work Experience Activity Requirement will be required to participate.

More information about these changes is available on the Work for the Dole in selected areas programme page.

Job seekers benefit from Work for the Dole activities by:

  • developing on-the-job skills
  • demonstrating abilities to potential employers
  • obtaining references from work experience employers
  • making new work contacts
  • taking part in training
  • staying connected to the workforce.

A Work for the Dole placement might see a job seeker working as part of a team with other job seekers, or be an individual placement with a host organisation (such as a community group or charity). The type of tasks could vary but can include opportunities to develop skills in:

  • computing
  • maintenance of vehicles and buildings
  • landscaping or gardening
  • office or retail
  • customer service
  • hospitality, including food preparation
  • woodworking, painting, decorating, metalworking or electrical testing
  • restoring historic buildings and vehicles
  • helping members of the community such as the elderly, people with disability or children (you may require a police clearance before working in nursing homes or with children)
  • recording local history
  • producing videos, websites or publicity materials.

The range of activities will be different for each Job Services Australia provider and may include more options than those listed above.

Who can participate in Work for the Dole activities?

Job seekers registered with a Job Services Australia provider can volunteer to participate in Work for the Dole activities at any time, if both the job seeker and the Job Services Australia provider agree it will be of benefit.

Job seekers aged 18 to 49 who have been registered with a Job Services Australia provider for 12 months must participate in a work experience activity (like Work for the Dole) to continue receiving financial help (through income support) from the Australian Government.

Job seekers who take part in Work for the Dole activities may be able to get an additional payment of $20.80 a fortnight to help with costs of taking part in the Work for the Dole activity.

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