Callum Ogden, Advice Services Coordinator with Citizens Advice Edinburgh, reflecting on the first week of our Adviser Training Programme.
This week saw the start of the Citizens Advice Edinburgh Adviser Training Programme following our busy volunteer open day and application process in September. As advice services coordinator, I have the privilege of welcoming our new trainees to the Citizens Advice service and overseeing the ongoing training process over the coming weeks and months. Having now met the majority of our new trainees, it is wonderful to see the range of life experience and knowledge each trainee brings with them - it's clear each will be an asset not only to Citizens Advice Edinburgh, but also to the thousands in Edinburgh who may need to access our services in the coming months and years.
Unfortunately due to limited availability of spaces on this programme, it is not always possible to offer the opportunity to train with us as an adviser to everyone who applies. We sincerely appreciate everyone who takes the time to apply to volunteer with us, and hope that anyone who was not offered a position in our autumn training will not be deterred from volunteering in the future – either with us, or one of the many other wonderful voluntary organisations in Edinburgh. We aim to run our training twice per year in spring and autumn with the exact start date and application availability to be confirmed closer to the time.
The Adviser Training Programme with Citizens Advice Edinburgh is a course designed to provide the essential knowledge, skills, and practical experience to be a generalist adviser in one of our bureaus. The learning we provide is initially carried out through taught sessions delivered by our volunteer tutors and staff, and leads on to an opportunity to shadow client interviews with an experienced adviser. When a trainee is ready, they will be given the opportunity to take the lead on supported interviews and, ultimately, to carry out solo interviews (though with support still available at all times) in one of our five busy Bureaus.
This is always an exciting time of year for us, with new trainee advisors beginning their journey, and existing trainees continuing to work towards the completion of their Generalist Advisor competency certificates. We could not hope to provide our services without the over 270 dedicated volunteers we have in many roles: from advisers, receptionists, administrators and social policy researchers. We rely on the experience, skills and dedication of our volunteers to continue to deliver our main service; to provide free, independent, impartial, and confidential advice to residents of Edinburgh.
To find out more about volunteering with Citizens Advice Edinburgh, please visit our Volunteer page.