Tom A. Warren, a Past RI President once said:
 “The only unique feature of Rotary is vocational service; everything else that we do is repeated by some other organization. If we are unique, if we have a special message or mission in the world that is unique to ourselves, it lies only in the realm of vocational service.”
Here are the words of another Past RI President, Cliff Dochterman:
 “It was in the atmosphere of Vocational Service that Paul Harris began to wonder if just one person from each business and profession could actually work together, in a non-competitive atmosphere, to help each other improve their business and their income. Not as rivals or competitors; they could just be friends and help each other achieve success. Thus, the idea of friendship and business was combined — and the idea of a Rotary Club evolved.”
Think back to when you became a Rotarian.
Who recruited you and what was your vocation at the time?
It’s likely that you were recruited because you were respected in your field. Using your professional skills to help others is at the heart of Rotary. But what exactly does that involve?
Rotarians are leaders are they not? Vocational service also involves using your leadership position to model and encourage ethical behaviour among your employees, your associates, and your community.
Vocational service committees encourage members to use their professional skills to support service projects, and to help identify and form vocational training teams.
Vocational service is one of the distinguishing characteristics of Rotary and the Vocational Service group can be used to share best practices and discuss ways to put vocational service in action.
Think about the 4 Objects of Rotary, The 4 Way Test and Rotary’s Code of Conduct.
How can we make these Rotary Codes more relevant to younger Rotarians?
  • Can we create awareness in our communities about the Rotary Codes of Conduct?
  • Can we set a good example with our own conduct?
  • Can we present Business Ethics Awards to honour businesses and professionals that demonstrate high ethical standards and in this way make the Rotary Codes come alive to our own members and to the community?
  • Can we create a stronger emphasis on business networking with integrity as a means of attracting and mentoring the new generation?
  • Can we promote the Rotary Codes of Conduct by on social media including Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin?
  • Can we promote the Rotary Codes of Conduct through our local  magazines and newspapers?
Rotary Fellowships are international groups that share a common passion. Being part of a fellowship is a fun way to make friends around the world, explore a hobby or profession, and enhance your Rotary experience.
What are some of the hobbies and professions you think might be on the list of fellowships?  Think about joining one.
Vocational Service helps us to be better Persons, better Rotarians so consider these suggestions.
  • Let’s talk about our professions in our clubs and take time to learn about our fellow members’ occupations.
  • Let’s use our skills and expertise to serve the community.
  • Let’s participate in vocational visits to other members' businesses. 
  • Let’s help young people to achieve their career goals.
  • Let’s consider sponsoring a speech competition on the Four Way Test.
  • Let’s host an ethics program for our high school students.
  • Let’s honour community members who exemplify service in the workplace with a Vocational Award.
  • Let’s guide and encourage others in their professional development.
  • Let’s practise our profession with integrity and inspire others to behave ethically through our words and actions.
  • Let’s also use our experience to mentor others in ethical leadership. 
  • Let’s consider conducting workshops or hosting professional development seminars.
  • Let’s partner with local non-profits to act as strategic consultants, offering our expertise free of charge.
Some tips for a Vocational Training Team project.
Vocational training teams (VTT’s) build on the Rotary Foundation’s long standing commitment to vocational training.  They take the concept of Group Study Exchange (GSE) – providing young professionals with a chance to observe their profession in another country- a step further by offering participants the opportunity to use their skills to help others.  Teams can be funded through a district or a global grant.
To ensure a successful VTT.
  1. Identify projects based on connections you already have.  VTT projects should increase the host community’s ability to solve problems and improve quality of life.  When developing ideas, rely on district governors and club members who already have extensive international contacts.  Every year DG’s meet for training with their counterparts.  Some approach others with ideas about projects they can do together.
  2. Take advantage of the rules.  VTTs are flexible in that you can send as many team members as you want and some can be Rotarians.  There is no district reciprocal arrangement required.
  3. The process isn’t just one person’s responsibility.  Share the preparation duties and recruit Rotarians to help.  To find team members, one committee reached out to medical professionals, developed fliers, distributed them to Rotary clubs and contacted local media.  Review applications from candidates and conduct interviews.
Go to My Rotary. Sign in.  Click on Take Action, click on Rotary Ideas.
Then click on Rotary Showcase which is just under Rotary Ideas.  Choose the keyword “Vocational” and the search will give you 1000+ ideas. 
Do an internet search for “Facts about Vocational Training Teams.”
If you would like me to come to your club to talk about Vocational Service ask me at or phone 0488084698.
Submitted by: Penni Hamilton-Smith