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General Outline of the
Volunteer Botanical Training Program


Program dates

The program runs from early January to mid-February each year.

Welcome to participants in the Program is at 9.30 am on the first day. Successful applicants need to be at the Australian National Herbarium by that time to register.

Work days and hours

The Program operates on the basis of a time commitment of five days per week.

We recognise that part-time work, study and/or family commitments may disrupt this somewhat, and may require participants (for example) to miss the odd day, or to extend the Program to meet credit requirements. If you do have problems with timing, or with attendance in particular weeks, please do not hesitate to contact the Program Coordinator as soon as possible; we will try to work out a mutually acceptable solution.

Daily hours are 9 am to 5 pm, with lunch and tea breaks. Again, if other commitments require you to vary these hours please discuss it with us and we will accommodate your needs wherever possible. Field trip days may be considerably longer: 7 am starts and 8.30 pm returns are possible. The two work assignments will require some time outside of normal work hours.

Work patterns

Participants will attend the main training sessions as a group; these sessions will be a mixture of seminars and hands-on practicals. At other times, and for most routine work, you will work in small teams, each team working to a staff member on specific tasks.
Teams will be allocated to various areas of work. Essentially similar work will be done in each area, and the general training sessions will ensure some background knowledge and skills in each area for all participants.

An example of a course schedule can be seen here.

Credit arrangements

Participants who are eligible and wish to gain course credits for their participation in the Program must arrange this with their institution. We will provide supporting documentation if needed. Please note that if your institution requires a project as part of the outcome from the placement this will be written up substantially in your own time. Where possible we will allocate work that is at least partly relevant to your chosen project, but this cannot be guaranteed. Your visiting rights to the Herbarium and the ANBG and CANBR Libraries may be extended beyond the end of the Program, and we will be happy to assist in projects with information and advice.

Program outcomes

The Program endeavours to impart, through a combination of theoretical and practical work, a range of knowledge and skills that will benefit participants in their future employment. On completion of the Program all participants will receive a reference detailing experience and skills gained and tasks performed. Later needs for more job-specific references can also be met. Course evaluation forms will be provided for you to register your opinions near the end of the Program. We welcome your suggestions for improvements at any time.

Conditions of work

Registered Gardens Volunteers are covered by ComCare insurance while on duty. To ensure you are fully covered during the course of the Program you will be registered as a volunteer on arrival on the first day of the program.
Most work will be indoors. No special clothing is required for herbarium work except that full-cover shoes must be worn. Lab coats may be required for laboratory sessions; these will be provided and arranged nearer time. Field work sessions do require appropriate clothing - this is listed in your work Program for the first trip.
Staff and volunteers at the Gardens consider each other as colleagues and so entitled to normal mutual respect. Any circumstances (physical or interpersonal) that cause you distress or discomfort should be reported straight away. Health and safety hazards should also be reported to a staff member as soon as noticed.
We look forward to your participation in this scheme, and will attempt to make the training aspects as useful and relevant to the scientific job market as possible. The feedback we have received from past participants has been very positive, in fact some of them now work with us (!), and we trust that you will find the Program equally rewarding.

Bronwyn Collins
Volunteer Botanical Training Program Coordinator
Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research



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