Do I need a policy for volunteers and work experience students?

A common question WorkCover Queensland receives from education employers is 'Do I need to cover volunteers and students on work experience or vocational placement?'


Schools can have many types of volunteers such as sport coaches, volunteers at sports carnivals, barbeques or volunteer bus drivers.

It is not compulsory for organisations to cover their volunteers for any work-related injury they may sustain. However, WorkCover may enter into a contract of insurance with certain organisations to cover their volunteers for statutory claims only, as a result of injuries sustained in the course of volunteer activities i.e. claims costs for medical expenses and weekly benefits (common law excluded).

If a volunteer is associated with a school's Parents & Citizens (P&C) or Parents & Friends (P&F) association, they will not fall under the school's WorkCover Accident Insurance policy. Alternate insurance cover will need to be arranged.

Students on work experience or vocational placement

Students on work experience or vocational placement can be covered by a Work Experience and Vocational Placement policy. This policy only covers for death or permanent impairment and medical expenses are not covered. This type of policy is available to private secondary schools and registered training organisations.

The following schools are not required to take out a work experience policy as they are covered under the policies held by Education Queensland, Catholic Education and Independent Schools Queensland:

  • State secondary schools
  • Catholic private secondary schools
  • independent schools providing secondary education that are members of Independent Schools Queensland.

More information

For more information on these types of policies, call WorkCover on 1300 362 128.

Please note that while volunteers are not considered 'workers' for workers' compensation purposes, they are considered workers under national OHS legislation. Please read Non profit organisations and volunteers for more information on this.

You can also find out more about your rights and responsibilities and who you should cover for workers' compensation.

Read more examples of WorkCover insurance requirements specific to education employers, including cover for administrative staff, cleaners, trainers, assessors, and consultants.

Last updated
23 September 2016