While the title of this profession is prefaced with the word ‘career’, the underlying focus of this career path is on providing personal advice to people in regards to the important aspects of their lives, such as their learning, career progression and personal growth.
These guys tend to work for the National Careers Service, independent school boards, outreach services, community and further education institutions and sixth form colleges.
The main objective of personal advisers is to provide advice and guidance to children and young people between the ages of 13 and 19 on education, personal development and their future career plans.
A separate category of advisers also work with children and young people in the age group of 13 to 24, who have physical disabilities or special educational needs. These guys may also provide advice on more pressing social care issues, such as housing, homelessness, domestic violence, drugs and healthcare.
If you work in this area, you’ll be meeting service users in individual or group sessions to discuss their interests and requirements. You’ll be evaluating their needs and figuring out what needs to be done in order to facilitate their education and professional and personal growth.
Following these assessment sessions, you will be liaising with other governmental and non-governmental agencies to implement the necessary projects and programmes that will help fulfil your service users’ objectives.
In order to thrive in this profession, you’ll need to keep up-to-date with the latest statutory, legislative and market developments pertaining to education, employment and labour initiatives.
Salary & benefits
Trainee personal advisers tend to earn salaries in the range of £15,000 to £25,000 per annum. Qualified professionals can earn between £20,000 and £30,000 and senior personal advisers, with a wealth of experience and managerial responsibilities, can earn up to £36,000 a year.
A significant degree of flexibility and mobility is required, since the job involves moving across locations within the personal adviser’s area of responsibility.
You may also have to adapt your working hours in accordance with the times that are convenient to your service users.
Personal advisers are required to complete a preliminary set of qualifications before they are recognised as full-time practitioners.
To enter this professional programme, you will need an undergraduate or foundation degree, HND or NVQ Level Three qualification, preferably in a relevant subject, such as youth work, social work, health and social care, teaching, psychology, sociology, counselling or another related discipline.
Prior work experience with children and young people is also useful and this kind of experience is major requirement for most employers. Since you will be working directly with children, you will also need to obtain a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
If your job involves moving around a lot, it may also be necessary for you to hold a full driving licence.
Training & progression
The professional training you’ll undergo will depend on your entry-level qualifications. However, everyone will need to complete part, or all, of the NVQ Level Four qualification in Learning Development & Support Services (LDSS).
During this process, you will need to maintain a detailed log of your learning and undergo practical training activities and performance assessments.
It’s vital that all personal advisers have a strong understanding of issues, such as equality and diversity, privacy and data protection and child protection. Consequently, sessions covering these topics will also form a large part of your formal training.
As your career progresses and you take on a more senior position, you may be involved in training new personal advisers, managing teams or specialising in a specific area of advisory services.