Advice workers give information and advice on issues such as legal and consumer rights, welfare benefits, pensions, housing and financial problems. Some workers may specialise in one particular area of work.
You could be:
helping people to exercise their rights and be aware of obligations
advising clients on what benefits and allowances they are entitled to
advising on rights at work and issues such as redundancy or discrimination
helping a client to work out a plan for paying off debts
referring clients on for specialist help, such as legal advice
dealing with other areas such as housing or family issues
representing clients at employment tribunals or welfare benefit appeals
filling out forms, making phone calls or writing letters on behalf of clients
collecting statistics, writing reports and keeping client records.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Advice workers or advisers can earn between £20,000 and £25,000 a year. Managers of advice projects or advice centres can earn up to £30,000 a year.
Some advice organisations give advice on a single subject (such as money advice centres), while others give wide-ranging, general advice.
You may work in a local authority department such as housing or social work, or with a voluntary body, such as a Citizens Advice, where you would deal with a wide range of issues.
You work in an office, sometimes in a local community centre.
You usually work regular hours, Monday to Friday, but your advice sessions may be offered in the evenings or at weekends.
You do not always need formal qualifications, but most entrants have a relevant degree in a subject such as law, finance, social work or community work.
Relevant experience may be accepted instead of qualifications.
Many advice workers get a job after doing voluntary work as an adviser – most advice centres welcome volunteers.
You will usually require a satisfactory criminal record check from Disclosure Scotland to show that you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details on the type you would need.
You could work with a local authority department such as housing or social work, a private company, or with a voluntary body, such as Citizens Advice or local money advice centre.
non-judgemental and sensitive when dealing with clients’ problems
confident, especially when representing clients at appeal hearings
able to work under pressure
able to understand and keep up to date with relevant laws and policies.
You should have:
strong listening and questioning skills
excellent written and spoken communication skills
a good memory
number skills to give money advice
respect for confidentiality
good admin and record keeping skills
excellent organisational skills.
Training is on the job.
You may take short courses in administration, recording information and counselling skills.
You may also be able to work towards relevant Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) such as Advice and Guidance at SCQF Levels 5 to 8.
The Child Poverty Action Group runs a range of courses in Glasgow. These include welfare rights courses and a number of one-day courses on specific benefits. They also offer training in negotiating skills and representing at appeal tribunals.
With experience and further training, you may be able to become a co-ordinator, trainer or manager with an advisory project or an advice centre.
You could also become self-employed as a trainer in the advice sector.
You could specialise in areas covering debt and finance, patient care, housing, or alcohol and drug related problems.