Initial Adviser

The Role

All new advisers are trained to be Initial Advisers first. As an Initial Adviser you will likely be the first person a client speaks to when they call the Citizens Advice helpline or use the Citizens Advice Email or Web chat service. Most of our Initial Advisers are volunteers and we could not run the service without them.

Current vacancies are for Telephone Advisers


We will provide all the training you need to become a confident and competent adviser. Most training is e-learning and can be completed at your own pace. There will also be 2-3 days of office-based training in our Hanley office.

Observing – you’ll have plenty of opportunity to observe our experienced advisers on the job before we ask you to take a call yourself. For your first few calls, you’ll have a supervisor with you to give you any support you need during the call. When we think you’re ready, you’ll be able to go solo. A duty supervisor will always be available to help.

Taking calls - you will take inbound calls to our local Citizens Advice helpline.

Pre-booked appointments – some of our initial advisers do telephone appointments with clients. A client may be given an appointment when they attend a drop-in or a client may be referred to us after phoning the national Adviceline.


Email and webchat

Email advice - email advice allows plenty of time to research the client's issue and get your advice checked before sending your reply to the client. It may be an option if you have difficulty using a phone.

Webchat - if you can't use a phone but want something a bit more challenging than email advice you could train to do advice by live webchat.


A small number of our most vulnerable clients may need to be seen face to face. This is usually done by our most experienced Initial Advisers who have had additional training to do face-to-face advice.

What skills will you need to apply?

  • Be a good listener.
  • Be committed to the aims and principles of the CA service – read about our aims and principles here.
  • Be able to volunteer for at least one three-hour session per week for a minimum of 12 months.
  • Have a good manner when talking to people on the telephone.
  • Be able to work as part of a team.
  • Have basic IT skills. You’ll need to be able to use a keyboard and mouse and know how to search the internet. We’ll provide training on our systems (Microsoft 365) and the national Citizens Advice apps and database.
  • Be able to read and write English and do basic Maths.
  • Be open-minded and non-judgmental.
  • Enjoy helping people.
  • Be willing to learn.

Your duties as an Initial Adviser.

These are the steps you will follow to assist your client.

  • Explain the initial advice process to the client.
  • Explore the client’s problem(s) and situation.
  • Assess the urgency of the client’s issues and their ability to deal with the problem themselves.
  • Identify the next step which needs to be taken.
  • Summarise the content of the interview for the client and explain what happens next.
  • Ensure clients know they can return for further assistance.
  • Record the enquiry on the national database.

You might need to

  • Help clients to complete basic, fact-based forms. Eg blue badge applications.
  • Help clients to complete simple benefit checks.
  • Contact 3rd parties on behalf of clients.

Research and campaigns

At Citizens Advice, we don’t just help individuals, we also campaign on policies that affect our clients unfairly. As an Initial Adviser, you’ll help identify where a client’s issue is part of a wider policy issue.

 Other roles - Most of our volunteers will continue to volunteer as Initial Advisers, but other advice roles are available for those who have the interest and aptitude, and who have been signed off as competent Initial Advisers.

If the Initial Adviser role sounds right for you, apply now!