Money advisers, sometimes known as debt counsellors, help people whose debts have become too large or complex for them to handle. They offer free, impartial, and confidential advice on managing money and coping with debt, and they often also deal with creditors and courts on their clients' behalf.
As a money adviser, you could work with clients face-to-face or on a telephone helpline.
Your work might include:
With experience, you could take on more complex casework, act as an intermediary (apply on someone's behalf) for a debt relief order (DRO) or become involved in social policy work.
In a full-time job you would typically work standard office hours, Monday to Friday, although some jobs may involve evening or Saturday sessions. Part-time work may be available.
You could spend your day speaking to clients in an advice centre or office, or you may visit outreach centres or clients' homes to give advice. You may occasionally need to attend court.
Full-time starting salaries are around £20,000 a year. With more experience and responsibility, earnings can rise to around £28,000 a year.
The most common way into this career is to volunteer in an advice centre. You would often start with giving general advice, then train in money advice once you have more experience.
Most opportunities are with Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB), advice centres run by local authorities or other voluntary organisations, and Money Advice Units/Money Advice Support Units (MASU). You could also find work with universities, colleges or trade unions.
Jobs are often fixed-term contracts of up to two years, depending on available funding. Vacancies may be advertised in the local and national press and on employer websites. Competition for paid work can be strong.
It usually takes at least a year as a volunteer before you would be considered to have enough experience and knowledge to apply for paid work as a money adviser.
You could also move into money advice work if you have experience in other areas such as:
Most employers will not ask for qualifications as your experience would be the most important thing, but you should have a reasonable standard of English and feel comfortable with maths.
For some jobs, it may be an advantage if you speak a minority community language.
Your employer will provide initial training when you start work, and you will also learn on the job from experienced advisers. You would also receive ongoing training throughout your career, to learn more about specific issues and keep up to date with new laws and practice.
As a paid or volunteer adviser with a Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), you would follow their nationally recognised training programme in general advice work, plus specialist training in money advice. Alternatively, you could follow the Money Advice Trust's 'wiseradviser' online training programme.
You may also have the chance to work towards NVQ's at levels 3 and 4 in Advice and Guidance and NVQ's at level 3 and 4 in Legal Advice.
You could also get online and short course training from the Money Advice Trust (MAT), which provides training to its member organisations, and you could join the Institute of Money Advisers (IMA), which offers training days to members on specialist areas of money and debt advice.
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A money adviser or debt counsellor needs
With experience, you could become a specialist caseworker, or be promoted to a team leader or management post.
Institute of Money Advisers (IMA),
Stringer House, 34 Lupton Street,
Leeds LS10 2QW
Tel: 0845 094 2384
Money Advice Trust (MAT),
21-26 Garlick Hill, London EC4V 2AU
Tel: 020 7489 7796
6th Floor, 63 St Mary Axe,
London EC3A 8AA
Tel: 020 7469 5700
Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS)
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