Careers Service Occupations

Community, Advice & Guidance

Community, Advice and Guidance Work

About

Find out about careers in community, advice and guidance sectors, including the range of jobs available, professional bodies, industry news and careers advice.

Careers advice

The following external websites provide careers advice about working in the sector:

Read a series of profiles of professionals who are working across the social care sector in the Guardian's Social Care Network: A day in the life of.  

Industry news 

The following websites provide information about news in the industry:

Community and welfare

Educational and careers guidance

Cegnet provides careers education, information, advice and guidance news

Find news for the wider learning and skills sector at Excellence Gateway

Housing

Inside Housing lists housing news, and 24housing lists social housing and public sector news.

Substance misuse

For professionals in the substance misuse sector and wider health, social care and criminal justice settings, see DrinkandDrugs.net. Also see Drink and Drugs News  and DrugWise.

Professional bodies 

Professional bodies represent and promote the interests of people working in the sector, providing services such as training and networking opportunities. They often provide careers support for students and graduates and development for people already working in the sector.

Follow professional associations on LinkedIn, or visit their websites for useful sources of news, contacts, work experience and vacancies.

The main professional associations for this sector include:

Government bodies

Making contacts

Making contacts is essential for success in this sector. Many jobs in this field are gained through networking and speculative applications. We've compiled a few places you could start: 

Graduate Connections

Our online database, Graduate Connections, contains information about graduates who are happy to give you information and advice about the kind of work they do.

Social media 

Social media resources, particularly LinkedIn and Twitter, can be useful for making contacts, following employers and finding opportunities.

You can also find out what alumni did after graduation and contact them for advice and inspiration through Newcastle alumni on LinkedIn.

Career mentoring

Our Career Mentoring programme for Newcastle University students can help you to make contacts in the sector. 

Conferences and charity and volunteering events

Events

Recruitment fairs, open days, talks and other sector events give valuable insights and the opportunity to make contacts. 

For more events for this sector see our full list of Careers Service events and external events

Related sectors 

You may also be interested in:

For more options see our Careers Occupations homepage

Roles & Skills

Roles in this sector range from careers advisers, community and youth workers and housing policy officers to counsellors and substance misuse outreach workers.

We've included links to external websites that provide descriptions of typical duties, entry requirements and case studies for the range of careers in this sector:

Community and welfare

Advice worker

Communication professional

Community arts worker

For further information relating to professional communication roles see the Creative Arts, Design and Fashion sector

Community development worker

Community education officer

Drug and alcohol worker

Equalities and diversity officer

For further information relating to this role see the HR, recruitment and training sector

Family mediator/support worker

Housing officer/adviser

Housing policy officer

Money adviser/debt counsellor

Playworker

Race relations worker 

Substance misuse outreach worker

Welfare rights officer/Welfare benefits adviser

Youth offending team officer

Youth and Community worker

Educational and careers advice and guidance

Adult guidance worker

Careers adviser

Higher education advice worker

Higher education careers adviser

Skills employers look for

Skills required vary according to the specific role but the skills most employers in this sector look for include:

  • excellent interpersonal and communication skills and the ability to relate to people from diverse backgrounds
  • empathy, diplomacy, sensitivity and a non-judgmental manner as well as a respect for confidentiality 
  • flexibility, with the ability to work on your own initiative as well as part of a team
  • resourcefulness, problem-solving skills and attention to detail
  • the capacity to cope with pressure 
  • the ability to liaise with other professionals and organisations

Gaining Experience

This is a competitive field so work experience in a related role is highly recommended.

Some paid work experience opportunities are available but voluntary work is a common route into the sector. By volunteering you can acquire new skills, learn more about the sector and pursue opportunities within your chosen organisation.

Check the Volunteering section of the Careers Service website for resources to find volunteering opportunities. These include Newcastle University Students' Union's (NUSU) Go Volunteer. You can also find opportunities by searching under 'voluntary' in the work experience section of Careers Service Vacancies Online.

You can gain related experience through part-time jobs, eg advice work or in careers services. A background in these fields can offer an alternative entry point into this sector. See our Part-time Jobs section for vacancies. 

Joining student societies is another way you can gain relevant work experience. NUSU has several societies that campaign and work with community and advice organisations

You can find more organisations in this sector in the Finding Jobs section.

Finding Jobs

The small number of graduate schemes on offer are highly competitive. You may have to begin working at a lower level and progress towards your ideal career, or start within the organisation as a volunteer.

Graduate schemes and entry level jobs

The following organisations offer graduate schemes and entry level jobs:

CharityWorks

CharityWorks offer a one-year, full-time graduate programme in a non-profit organisation. Positions include operations, business development, fundraising, campaigns, research, or a combination of these.

IntoUniversity

IntoUniversity recruits graduate trainee education workers. 

Specialist recruitment agencies

CF Appointments provides advice and guidance for the charity, education, employment and training sectors.

Vacancy sites 

We've compiled lists of external vacancy websites:

Finding organisations

Not all jobs are advertised. You could also approach organisations directly or find work through networking and making contacts in the industry.

Find organisations that interest you and get in touch, always with a named contact.

Be specific about why you are writing to them and what you’re looking for, showing your enthusiasm for the sector and highlighting any relevant skills.

Don’t be disheartened if you don’t get a reply – follow up with a phone call or email to show that you’re keen.

Depending on the role, work experience or volunteering in relevant settings could give you valuable experience for the community, advice and guidance sector. Organisations include:

If you're interested in community work, gaining experience in community centres can help. Community centres can normally be found on your local council website. For example, Newcastle City Council lists community centres. 

If you're interested in youth work gaining experience in adventure playground groups, school or holiday play schemes, or youth projects can be valuable. Check your local council website for details of these. For example Newcastle's Family Information Service also has details of youth clubs in Newcastle.

For mental health services check ReThink for links to organisations.

Students completing work experience in this sector may be eligible for our Careers Insight Bursary.

Self employment

Self-employment in this sector is uncommon, and usually more appropriate for those with substantial experience. However, it is possible to work on a freelance basis for some roles, for example as a sign language interpreter.

The Work for Yourself section of the Careers Service website provides information on the range of activities and support available to eligible Newcastle students and graduates interested in starting their own business or working for themselves.

You can also read factsheets and reports on starting up and running a business by visiting our COBRA website.