We rely on the work of volunteers to deliver advice services to clients.
Almost all clients approaching Citizens Advice Bristol will initially be interviewed by a volunteer and the majority of clients who do require further detailed advice will also receive that advice from a volunteer.
If you are interested in applying, please read our Frequently Asked Questions below for more information.
What does a volunteer adviser do?
After undergoing comprehensive training, you will be advising on a wide range of enquiry areas including welfare rights, debt and money, housing, employment, family issues, immigration and consumer rights.
As an adviser, you will typically see clients for one hour advice appointments. During this appointment, you will gather information from the client, carry out research and then advise the client on the options available to them. In some instances, you may also need to help the client with filling in forms, writing letters or contacting third parties on their behalf.
The role of a volunteer adviser is demanding and can sometimes be challenging, it is however extremely rewarding and enjoyable.
What will I gain from volunteering as an adviser?
If you are looking for experience to help you get back into work, want to develop new activities in your retirement or want to have an outside activity that balances your caring responsibilities then this could be you.
We do not ask for a minimum time commitment from volunteers but hope that most will stay for a few years, although we understand that ‘life happens’ and you may need to move sooner.
What training and support will I get?
As a volunteer you will always have the support of paid staff to guide and assist you in your work with clients.
Before starting to work with clients, all advisers receive comprehensive training.
The initial training takes around 5 months. You will need to commit to one full day of training per week and set aside at least half a day for homework.
After this initial training period, you will begin working with clients as a trainee adviser. The commitment required at this stage and thereafter is two half-day sessions or one full day a week, including the occasional Saturday morning every 6-8 weeks.
To complete the full training usually takes around 12 months.
This is a huge investment on our part and we hope that most of those that train with us are able to stay and be part of our service for many years to come.
What skills and qualifications do I need?
We aim to recruit volunteers from all sections of the Bristol community and so you do not need any particular qualifications or experience to apply. Our application questions are deliberately open-ended to encourage as many applicants from a wide variety of backgrounds and diversity of skills. However, you will need to be fluent in English and to have basic numeracy skills.
We particularly welcome applicants from underrepresented sections of the community including those from a black or ethnic minority background and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. We are also interested in hearing from applicants who speak another language such as Polish, Somali, Arabic or any other community language.
Above all, we are simply looking for people who have a genuine interest in helping others and who have the time available to make the commitment.
How many trainee advisers do you take on?
We run two – three training groups each year and each group is comprised of 10 – 12 trainees.
How long before I am contacted for an interview?
All applicants are contacted for an interview so please ensure you provide up to date contact information and include any times when you are not available.
Please keep checking our website for updates of when the next training session will begin.
If you apply before we announce the next training session, we will keep your application until we begin the next intake.
How soon after the interview will I be told I have a place on the training group?
We typically conduct interviews within one week and aim to respond to all interviewees one week after we have finished.
I have worked as an adviser in another Citizens Advice office. Can I apply?
If you have recently worked for another CAB and have completed your adviser training, we would like to hear from you.
Please email email@example.com along with a completed application form highlighting your previous experience and the level of advice you were involved in.
I am a university student. Can I apply?
We do not exclude students from applying to become an adviser and do get many applications from law and non-law students alike. In practice however students have struggled to maintain the level of commitment we expect (minimum one full day a week for 6 – 12months). Moreover, our training group cannot accommodate busy exam periods or term breaks and missing large chunks of training sessions will inevitably lead to you falling behind with the rest of the group.
As an alternative, we would encourage university students to apply to volunteer in other parts of our office.
How do I apply?
If you are interested in applying, please download our application form and our monitoring form and email firstname.lastname@example.org . Alternatively, you can post your completed application form to: Admin, Citizens Advice Bristol, 48 Fairfax Street, Bristol BS1 3BL
If you have specific access needs, please let us know in your application.