When new workers, both volunteer and paid, start a job, there is some information they must know before they see any clients, as well as some they will need to know within the first few weeks and some they need to know eventually. This is called either orientation or induction and there are two main ways of providing this information:

    • A formal approach– A full period of training set aside, with notes, activities, discussions and guest speakers. This can be good if you have a number of workers starting at the same time. They can all get to meet each other but it takes a lot of preparation. It does have the advantage of providing a lot of information all at once.
    • A less formal approach– The worker is given written or taped induction information they need to work their way through. The worker needs to read or listen to this information and sign to say they understand the information over a period of time – often one month. During that month, the worker is given low risk activities and the chance to watch others, with staff explaining what is happening and mentoring the new worker.

Many organisations use a combination of these two approaches.

The First Day

Whichever method you use, there is some crucial information that all workers need to know on the first day, before they see any clients. This includes:

    • WHS information(Work Health and Safety).
    •  Child protection and mandatory reporting information.
    •  Privacy and confidentiality information.
    • Administrative information– this will vary from one organisation to another but staff will at least need to know how to record their hours and collect their pay;
    • Policy information – any policies or roles the board thinks are vitally important to the organisation.
    • Location information – where the toilets, fire escapes, car park, phones etc are located. This should also include fire escape procedures – where to take clients if there is a fire and how to check that there are no people stuck inside during a fire etc.

The overall orientation process should also include:

    • A welcome to the organisation.
    • Details of their position (what they will be doing).
    • Information on the day-to-day operations of the organisation.
    • Support that will be provided to them.
    • Introductions to key people in the organisation (e.g. managers, the person in charge of pay, OHS representatives, first aid people, etc.)


This form can be adapted to your needs, to help supervisors make sure they have covered everything.
Supervisor’s Induction Checklist (97 KB)

You can get more information on induction from the West Australian volunteers’ organisation –