FAQ - Advocacy Training

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How do I become an advocate?

Please click here: How Do I Become an Advocate? for more information

What is an advocate?

An advocate is independent, free to access and and lead by the person requiring support. Advocates support people to make decisions about issues that affect them. An advocate will not give advice or tell a person what to do but will give a person information to help them make an informed choice. See What is Advocacy? on our website.

Why should I choose Advocacy Training?

We are experienced and qualified advocates, trainers and assessors who understand best the nuances and difficulties within advocacy. We know how rewarding advocacy can be. We use our collective expertise and real-life examples to maximise your learning experience.

We pride ourselves in delivering high quality, interactive and practical training; developing skill sets that can be taken back to the workplace and have a direct impact on practice and services.

Our extensive experience in delivering advocacy skills training has grown from over 20 years in delivering high quality, independent advocacy services.

Our training is based on group work and professional discussion, preferring an interactive approach to learning. We provide an accessible service, ensuring flexibility and inclusive practice for learners who require additional support.

Our assessment of learners respects the wealth and variety of experiences that people can bring to the learning journey, whilst ensuring that the high standard required by City & Guilds is met.

Our non-accredited training is tailored to your individual and group requirements and developed collaboratively with you to address your needs.

Complete your learning journey with us – we can help you maximise your potential.

What are the benefits of becoming an Advocate?

Advocacy is a challenging and highly rewarding occupation. Good practice enables you to ensure that people who have been used to being disregarded, ignored and devalued are able to have their voices heard and gain a sense of worth and self-respect.

There are a number of hurdles and difficulties within Advocacy and it’s a job where no two days are the same – but if you want to help battle injustice, see people gain confidence in themselves and their value, inform people of their rights and how to apply them and ultimately give people the skills to do it for themselves – then this is definitely as area worth looking into!

Who can benefit from being an Advocate?



What is bespoke training?

This is where we come to you and develop a course to suit your needs and attendees. For example, if you wish to obtain training for a group or people with learning difficulties, the training can be tailored to meet their specific needs and can cover topics most relevant to them, such as peer or self-advocacy. We can provide these courses at a venue of your choosing nationwide for groups of 6-12 learners (other attendee numbers negotiable). Please Contact us for more information.


Where do I start?

Visit our website for the courses we offer and see Which Course? is right for you. Contact our centre for more information. Have a look at our FAQ.

Where do I find details about each course?

Details of all our Courses can be found on our website.

I am not a professional, can I still do a course?

Yes. Our Level 2 course (Unit 201) is designed for anyone; professional or individual, you do not have to be a practising advocate, or in employment, to attend this course. Bursaries are available from City & Guilds if you are likely to find the costs difficult: City & Guilds Bursaries

We also provide one-day awareness courses for community groups. If a group of 6 or more people from your community would like to receive General Advocacy Awareness training, we will come and provide training for you in a venue of your choosing.

The cost for community training is £720 and expenses are charged in addition, at cost (receipts provided). We do not charge VAT. We can advertise the training on our website to increase bookings, local advertising would be undertaken by the community group. Please Contact us for more details.

What are core units?

The Core Units are the foundation of the Qualification in Independent Advocacy. Anyone wishing to complete the QIA must take these units as part of their portfolio.

The Core Units are:

301 – Purpose and Principles of Independent Advocacy
302 – Providing Independent Advocacy Support
303 – Maintaining the Independent Advocacy Relationship
304 – Responding to the Advocacy Needs of Different Groups of People

The Certificate comprises the four Core Units 301 – 304 plus one Specialist Unit, chosen depending on the type of advocacy role learners are in or would like to specialise in. See Courses for further details about the City & Guilds units.

How do I pick a specialist unit?

This would depend on what area of advocacy you are already working in. Please note: our City & Guilds Units 301 through to 310 & 313 are ‘competency-based’ i.e. assessed by producing a portfolio of evidence to meet the learning outcomes. You must be working in your specialist area to draw from your current practice for your portfolio of evidence, to achieve the City & Guilds standalone or full qualification in this area. See Which Course? For further guidance

I am already an advocate; do I have to start at Level 2 before going onto Level 3?

If you are already working as an advocate you can go straight in and start at Level 3 – you do not need to complete the Level 2 Unit 201 first.

If you have successfully completed Unit 201 in the recent past and you are now a practising advocate about to embark on your qualification, you can use the evidence from Unit 201 to cross reference to the Level 3 qualification, meaning you will need to do less work for the Level 3 portfolio!

If the course unit starts with a 3, does this indicate a Level 3 Course?

The Core Units are set at Level 3. Most of the Specialist Units are Level 4, with one (Unit 307) being Level 5. The overall City & Guilds qualification is Level 3.

The course is over 2 days, do I have to attend both days?

Yes. You would need to attend both days to complete the training and work towards completion of your portfolio. Alternatively, you can complete the qualification via distance learning.

Most of our Level 3 courses are designed for professionals, who are already working as an advocate in a specific field, however, you can attend any of our open access courses for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) where you would receive a certificate of attendance. You need to already have a good understanding of advocacy to make the most of attending the specialist units for Continuing Professional Development.

If you are part of a community group of 6 or more people, we can also arrange to bring training to you. Please Contact us for further information.

Do I have to attend the training in person?

Attending the training is not essential. We have distance learning options that have the benefit of self-guided learning and reduced time and costs as compared to classroom-based learning. We do recommend the classroom learning however, as this has the benefits of being able to share learning with other learners and professionals, hearing others’ experiences and ideas, and maximising your learning through group activities, guided discussions and real-life scenarios. Contact us for more details.

I work full time; can I work on the course in my own time?

Yes. You would initially attend the one or two-day training and then have 12 months from the date of allocation to complete your portfolio. Most organisations expect learners to complete the work in their own time. Occasionally an organisation will agree some in-work time to complete the qualification, but this is not common. It would be important for you to confirm what is expected with your Line Manager before commencing the qualification.

How long do I have to complete my portfolio?

You will have 12 months from the last day on the course for each unit. This starts from the date of allocation.


How do I book?

Visit our Book page to book any of the City & Guilds Qualification in Independent Advocacy courses we are delivering throughout the year. If you are looking for Continuing Professional Development, bespoke and/or in-house training please Contact us with details of your requirements and we will get back to you straight away

How much will it cost?

This will depend upon the route you decide to take. Prices are detailed under each course description. Visit our Courses pages for all pricing details.

Can I pay in installments?

This will depend on how soon the training will take place. We can offer an installment plan of two- or three-monthly installments; however, we would require all installments to be made before the training takes place. There is also a £40 administration fee to arrange this. We would not wish to prohibit anyone from attending our courses, so if you are likely to have difficulty finding the costs of any of the courses please do Contact us to discuss this further.


Do you only have courses in London?

Generally, most of our open access courses are held in London, in a venue that is a short distance from Kings Cross/St. Pancras station. We do have distance learning options and we are able to bring the training to you if you have a group of 6 or more people and your own, or a local, venue.

Occasionally, we do offer courses in other locations, depending on demand. Please Contact us for more details.

Do you have courses in my area?

We are able to offer in-house training for groups of 6 or more. This can be for community advocacy, bespoke continuing professional development or to deliver the City and Guilds accredited courses. The open access courses, that are set each year are only held in London. We do also have a distance learning option.

Can I do distance learning?

Yes, we have distance learning options available. Contact us for further details.


Can I do any of your courses?

Yes. You may not be able to sign up to a qualification if you are not already working as an advocate in a specific role. You can attend any course for Continuing Professional Development (CPD), however you need to already have a good understanding of advocacy to make the most of attending the City & Guilds specialist units for CPD.

What is the difference between level 2 and level 3?

Anyone can attend the Level 2 course – Unit 201.
Level 3 courses are for professionals already working as an advocate.

The Level 2 unit is deemed to be approximately close to GCSE level, with Level 3 knowledge requirements being comparable to A-Level (these are not direct comparisons as the Level 3 is a vocational qualification and therefore requires an ability to handle very difficult and challenging situations, which is not reflected in the A-Level status).

Level 4 (Specialist Units) are at Higher National Certificate (HNC) level, with Level 5 (Advocacy Management Unit) being at Foundation Degree level.

Why can I only do some of your courses?

The Level 2 course is open to anyone. The Level 3 Qualification in Independent Advocacy (QIA) is only open to those who are already working as advocates (though it is suitable for both new and experienced advocates) as you need to be able to provide the work-based evidence required to complete the portfolio.


What qualification will I get when I finish the course?

– By attending any training course for Continuing Professional Development, you will receive a Certificate of Attendance from Advocacy Training.

– By attending training (or distance learning) and providing the evidence for a Specialist Unit, you will receive Certificate of Unit Credit from City & Guilds. This is to recognise the work you have completed for the single unit taken and does not constitute the full Qualification in Independent Advocacy (QIA).

– By attending the Core Units and one Specialist Unit training (or distance learning) and providing the required evidence, you will gain the full City & Guilds QIA Certificate

– By attending the Core Units and Two Specialist Units training (or distance learning) and providing the required evidence, you will gain the QIA Diploma

When I have gained my qualification what does this mean?

The Level 2 Qualification in Independent Advocacy (Unit 201: Introduction to Advocacy) allows you to prove that you have the knowledge and understanding of what advocacy is and how it is used to ensure that people have a voice in issues and decisions that matter to them.

If you are looking into starting a career in Advocacy then it’s a great qualification to show prospective employers that you are truly interested in the field and are willing to make the effort to increase your awareness, ready to take the next step into practice.

Gaining the Level 3 Qualification in Independent Advocacy means your skills and experience as an Advocate are formally and nationally recognised and will be something you can take with you wherever you choose to practice.

Employers are increasingly looking for qualified advocates to join their teams and commissioners are expecting it more and more too. Being qualified also gives you the confidence and assurance that you are able to practice at the nationally recognised level – providing you with a sense of achievement and knowledge that you can do your job well.

If I attend a Level 3 course, will this enable me to find a job as an advocate?

The Level 3 courses are specifically designed for those already working as an advocate. Our City & Guilds Units 301 through to 310 & 313 are ‘competency-based’ i.e. assessed by producing a portfolio of evidence to meet the learning outcomes. You must be working in your specialist area to draw from your current practice for your portfolio of evidence, to achieve the City & Guilds standalone or full qualification in this area.

For example, if you sign up to the Qualification in Independent Advocacy (QIA) and you choose Unit 305 (IMCA) as your specialist unit, you must be working as an IMCA to enable you to gather the required practice-based evidence to achieve the qualification.
Many advocates start their role without having the Level 3 qualification. Advocacy employers will look for transferable skills and many will pay for you to undertake the qualification once you are in post.

If you are looking at getting into a career in advocacy, please click on the following link for some guidance: How Do I Become An Advocate?


I am disabled; how will you support me?

If you have any specific requirements, please do make the Centre aware in advance.

Our main training venue in London is fully accessible and we can ensure that our training resources are also suitable for your specific needs. Our trainers are flexible and inclusive so if anything arises during the day please let them know so that they can find a solution with you.

Our assessors also work with flexibility, accessibility and inclusive practice always in mind so please communicate your additional needs to them right from the start so that they can ensure you are working together in the way that suits you best.

I am a wheelchair user; can I access the venue and are there disabled facilities?

All the centres we use for training are accessible, having disabled access and facilities. Our London venue is a short distance from Kings Cross/St Pancras, which is a wheelchair accessible station and taxis are available outside the station if required. We are unable to guarantee parking at these venues. If you have any specific needs, please Contact the Centre to discuss further.

I am disabled, is parking provided at the venue?

We are unable to guarantee parking at any venue; however, we can contact a venue on your behalf to discuss availability.

I am supported by a carer; can they come to the training with me?

Yes, of course. If you let us know in advance, we can ensure that your carer has the space and flexibility to provide their care effectively during the training.

I am deaf, can I have an interpreter/signer to support me?

We aim to be as accessible as possible and we frequently have learners who require BSL interpreters to participate in the training. The main venue we use has plenty of space for additional people and we organise our training resources to ensure full inclusion. Our trainers are flexible to additional needs on the day, and if we know of such needs in advance, we can usually tailor our courses to meet most accessibility requirements.

On a rare occasion that we are not able to immediately provide what is requested, we will work with the learner(s) to seek a person-centred solution that the learner is happy with.

I am deaf, will I be able to keep up with the other learners on the course?

Yes, our training is designed to support all learners. As above, our trainers are inclusive and flexible and will be focused on ensuring that each learner has equal opportunity to fully participate in the training session(s).

I have dyslexia, will I be able to keep up with the other learners on the course?

Yes, please do indicate at the time of your booking if you have additional needs – we can then work with you to ensure that your learning requirements will be met during the training.

I have mental health issues, so can I do the mental health advocacy course?

Yes, anyone can attend any course for continuing professional development, however you need to already have a good understanding of advocacy to make the most of attending the City & Guilds specialist units for Continuing Professional Development.

Anyone can also complete the Level 2 Introduction to Advocacy course (Unit 201). If part of a group of staff, or community group then anyone can also have in-house training in general mental health advocacy, and/or other topics relevant to your area of interest or service provision. If you are a practising advocate you can also complete the Qualification in Independent Advocacy.


What is self-advocacy?

Self-Advocacy is speaking for ourselves, making choices and taking actions that aim to achieve our preferred outcomes. Our Self-Advocacy CPD course in general helps people develop awareness of self-advocacy skills and strategies and gain understanding of how self-advocacy can enhance their or other people’s lives. See our Self-Advocacy Course section for further details.

What is peer advocacy?

Peer Advocacy is supporting someone to have a voice, make choices and take actions to achieve outcomes. The advocate will share a common issue or situation with the person they are advocating for (i.e. they may both be single parents or have a similar disability).

Our one-day course aims to provide learners with an understanding & awareness of what Independent Peer Advocacy is, an understanding of and how to use the principles which underpin good practice in advocacy, the identification of some of the challenges that can arise with Independent Peer Advocacy and strategies to resolve these. See our Peer Advocacy Course section for further details.

What is non-instructed advocacy?

Non-Instructed Advocacy (NIA) is advocacy that does not take direct instruction from the person, perhaps because they lack capacity or have great difficulty fully communicating their needs and wishes. Instructed Advocacy should always be attempted before NIA is used.

Our one-day course explores a variety of approaches within non-instructed advocacy and establishes when it is appropriate to use it. The course will include practical exercises and case studies to develop skills in non-instructed advocacy practice.

See our Non-Instructed Advocacy Course section for further details.

What is CPD?

CPD is Continuing Professional Development. See our CPD Courses section for more information about these courses.


What happens if I am struggling and I feel I can’t finish the qualification?

You should contact your allocated assessor as soon as you know there is a problem, so they can support you with any issues you have. Your assessor can answer any questions in relation to completing your portfolio and will try to work with you to resolve any issues initially. If a solution cannot be found in this way, the assessor will contact the Centre for further support and guidance.

We aim to help anyone that is experiencing difficulties with their portfolio – we just ask that you try to make regular submissions where you can, and that you communicate with us as soon as you are aware of a problem.

If there is a likelihood that your difficulties will prevent you from completing the qualification on time, then you may need to contact the Centre directly. We will decide on an individual basis if you are eligible for an extension. This will only be considered if you have a history of regular work and have contacted us at the earliest possible time.

Other information you may find useful