All sorts of people volunteer as Citizens Advice Bureau advisers. Here are some of the things they have in common:
- Good listener
- Can work in a team
- Can read and write English, and do basic arithmetic
- Are open–minded and don’t judge people or their circumstances
- Enjoy helping all kinds of people
- Be prepared to commit around 4 hours each week
Does this sound like you? Then apply to be a volunteer!
Do I need special qualifications or experience to become an adviser?
No! The Citizens Advice Bureau adviser training programme and AdviserNet, our web-based information system, will give you a great start in the bureau.
What does an adviser do?
The role of a Citizens Advice Bureau adviser is very varied. Here’s some more information on some of the things advisers do in the Citizens Advice Bureua:
- Interview clients at the bureau, by phone or in person. Some bureaux give advice by e-mail or even by SMS
- Provide information from AdviserNet and other sources
- Explain the choices the client faces, and what these choices mean
- Offer practical help to clients by writing letters, making phone calls and helping fill in forms
- Perform calculations (for example, to assess entitlement to certain kinds of benefits)
- Refer clients to other agencies if they are better placed to help
- Keep records of all clients’ cases
- Prevent future problems by identifying issues that affect a lot of clients – this is called social policy work
- Some bureau advisers represent clients at tribunals
Support and development for Citizens Advice Bureau advisers
You don’t need to know everything to be a Citizens Advice Bureau adviser! Citizens Advice Scotland has developed an accredited training programme that will give you the skills you need to deliver a high quality service to clients. Our internet-based AdviserNet system is full of information you need to help your clients.
There will always be someone in the Citizens Advice Bureau that you can go to for guidance or support to make sure that you’re giving the right advice.
Once you’re a generalist adviser, you can choose to undertake training and develop specialist skills such as, for example, employment tribunal representation or money advice.
Moving on from the bureau
As well as helping you in the Citizens Advice Bureau, all the training and support you get as a Citizens Advice Bureau adviser can help you into paid work or further education when it’s time to move on.
No wonder people say Citizens Advice Bureau training is the best!
If you want to know more, contact your local bureau to find out what you can do to help your Citizens Advice Bureau help more people.