Why are volunteers important at North Ayrshire Citizens Advice Service?
Volunteers are the lifeblood of every North Ayrshire Citizens Advice Bureau. They change lives, raise vital funds and help people manage their problems. Without them, we simply would not be able to deliver our services, which help thousands of people in crisis every year.
We are committed to equal opportunities for staff and clients and welcome volunteers from all walks of life, regardless of age, race, gender, religion, sexuality or disability. Anyone can volunteer.
If you are looking for an exciting and interesting way to make a difference in people’s lives and help your community, whatever your interests or skills, we would love to hear from you.
What experience and abilities are necessary?
You must be at least 18 years old to volunteer, however here is no upper age limit. All our volunteer advisers will receive full training which is free.
No particular qualification or experience is necessary but it may be helpful if you have the following abilities:
- Be a good listener, open minded, and able to work with clients to achieve results
- Be able to read and understand sometimes complex information in order to explain it to others
- Basic arithmetic skills
- Work as a team member
- Commit yourself to a certain number of hours each week
- Support equal opportunities
- Computer skills and the willingness to learn
What is the training programme like?
The Generalist Adviser Training Programme (ATP) is a formal training programme which covers the main topic areas dealt with by advisers such as benefits, money advice, housing, employment, relationships and immigration. This robust ATP training runs for 12 weeks, and can usually be done in one or two days a week. As well as one to one and group based training, the programme includes additional e-learning modules. It’s a very flexible training programme which includes lots of different ways of learning.
During your training the ATP knowledge is put into context and given practical use in the form of shadowing with an experience advisor and this is done at one of the local bureaux and gives a great opportunity to get a real flavour of what it’s like to be an advisor.
It can take from 7 – 10 months to complete the training programme at the end of which you can become a “Generalist Advisor”. The training doesn’t stop there however as all volunteers continue to build on their knowledge with one to one training, group training and further e-learning.
Why volunteer for a North Ayrshire Citizens Advice Bureau?
Volunteering is one of the most rewarding ways you can make a real difference to lives of vulnerable people in our community.
One of the strengths of the Citizens Advice Bureau service is the diverse range of backgrounds, skills and experiences our volunteers bring to their roles.
All our volunteers find their involvement with us rewarding, satisfying and challenging, and they all get something different from their volunteering.
Make a difference in your community
No matter how much time you have available, you can make a positive difference to people in need and people’s lives and help make your community a better place to live and work.
By volunteering for a North Ayrshire Citizens Advice Bureau you will be playing an active part in improving the lives of local people as well as influencing the development of local and national social policies and services.
Enhance your CV and employability
Employers are always impressed to see prospective employees actively involved in their community.
It shows dedication and responsibility, and through volunteering you are gaining real-life work experience. Voluntary activities provide a challenging and fun way to improve and expand your skills base. Skills gained through volunteering often mirror the qualities that employers look for.
The North Ayrshire Citizens Advice Service is respected and respected throughout North Ayrshire and volunteering with us will make your CV stand out in a crowd.
Learn new skills
Whether it’s giving advice, dealing with clients or performing administrative duties, most of our voluntary opportunities give you the chance to develop new skills and gain confidence.
The experience and skills you gain from volunteering at a North Ayrshire Citizens Advice Bureau will add to your CV, improve your chances of getting a job and make you more attractive to employers.
Get accredited training
We provide all trainee advisers with a comprehensive, and nationally respected and recognised, accredited Adviser Training Programme that will give you the skills you need to deliver a high quality service to clients.
The course content includes:
- Policy and Interviewing Skills
- Income Support and Job Seekers Allowance
- Pension Credit
- Tax Credits
- Housing Benefit
- Disability Benefits
- Incapacity Benefit
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Social Fund
- Immigration and Nationality
- Consumer Legislation
- Employment Legislation
- Money Advice
- Accessing information
- Case Recording
- Benefit Case Studies
Meet people and make new friends
The social side of volunteering should not be forgotten. Getting involved with volunteering will allow you to meet lots of different people, make new friends and become a valued member of the team.
Recognition of your contribution
Our volunteers do not volunteer to win an award, but we think it’s important to recognise the amazing work our volunteers do. That’s why we recognise the contribution our volunteers make to the community, in delivering and promoting our services to our clients and the time and commitment they give to ensure we continue to provide a high quality service to our clients.
We are introducing schemes to:
- To thank and recognise volunteers for their dedication and commitment
- Inspire and motivate current and new volunteers
- Encourage sharing of successes and ideas
- Improve communication between the North Ayrshire Citizens Advice Service and our volunteering network
Gain real work experience
Get ahead of the competition for jobs with some invaluable real life work experience. Law students, for example, can knock 6 months off their training contract by volunteering as an adviser.
Put your talents to use
Put your existing skills and experience to good use to help others. If you have foreign language skills you could volunteer as an interpreter, put your computing skills to use and volunteer for IT support. No matter what your skills or experience, they will be put to good use!
We need you!
Seventy five per cent of the people who work in the Citizens Advice service are volunteers, and we simply wouldn’t be able to provide our services or be here for our clients without them.
Volunteering and welfare benefits
Volunteering shouldn’t affect your right to benefits, as long as the only money you receive is to cover your volunteering expenses, such as travel from home to the volunteering location.
There are no limits on the amount of time you can volunteer for as long as you continue to meet the conditions of the benefit or tax credit you are receiving.
For example if you receive Jobseekers Allowance you must still be actively seeking a full-time job, able to attend job interviews at 48 hours notice and available to work at one week’s notice.
It is always advisable to discuss your choice of voluntary work with your benefits adviser before you start.
Get involved and volunteer
If you would like to know more about volunteering for a North Ayrshire Citizens Advice Bureau, or would like to apply to become a volunteer get in touch now. You can find our contact details at the bottom of the page, our hours of business can be found on our opening hours page, alternatively, you can register your interest by emailing us via our contact us page and choosing Volunteer from the Subject box. To request an application by phone please contact our Volunteer Recruitment Line on 01294 608 142.