Ok, it may sound a tad obvious, but advice workers’ careers are all about providing neutral and dependable advice.
These guys provide advisory or consultative services to individuals, groups and communities on a wide range of subjects, including education, housing, drugs, immigration, benefits and other financial, social, cultural, economic and political matters.
Advice workers are employed across the three sectors – public, private and voluntary – and work for organisations such as the NHS, the Citizens Advice Bureau, local authorities and further education institutions.
If you become an advice worker, you’ll be responsible for providing information and advice to service users, conducting evaluations and assessments of their circumstances, making contacts, networking and referring service users to other helpful organisations.
You’ll be interacting with service users via the internet, over the phone and in face-to-face meetings. From time to time, you may also be required to represent your clients during legal proceedings.
You’ll also be using your administrative and organisational skills to keep an accurate record of your interactions with different service users.
Salary & benefits
Your salary will depend on which sector you work in, your location, the size of your employer and your individual background and work experience.
Generally, starting salaries range between £16,000 and £25,000 per annum whilst salaries for experienced professionals range between £25,000 and £40,000 a year.
Nine-to-five is the norm and it’s unlikely that you’ll be required to work in the evenings, over weekends or during national holidays.
You’re primarily going to be working in an office environment, as most advice workers will meet service users in person or speak with them over the telephone.
Many advice workers are now also utilising new media technologies to enhance their options for interacting with service users, such as email and instant messaging systems.
People that are responsible for manning helplines on a 24/7 basis will usually work in shifts, covering the entire week.
Advice workers come from a variety of academic backgrounds. However, qualifications in economics, finance, business, law, political science, sociology, psychology, social sciences, public administration and other related subjects can be particularly advantageous.
Training & progression
The bulk of learning and development opportunities offered by most employers come in the form of accredited training programmes provided by educational institutions, in-house training sessions and on-the-job training.
You could also work towards obtaining a Level Three or Four NVQ in Advice and Guidance, which can be completed on a part-time basis while you are working. Alternatively, if you’d like to take a short career break, you could study for this full-time.
Career progression is dependent on your background, professional qualifications, level of experience and individual performance.
As you progress up the proverbial career ladder, it’s likely that you’ll have less direct interaction with service users. Instead, you’ll get involved in other aspects, such as team management, training, policy and strategy development, budget control and promotional activities.