Firstly it may be useful for you to attend our Unit 201 open access course in London to get an idea of what advocacy is and whether or not it’s right for you.
See more information at: Unit 201: Introduction to Advocacy.
Attending the training and achieving the accredited City & Guilds certificate will show prospective employers that you have explored your interest in the field and have achieved official recognition for your knowledge and understanding of the role.
Most advocacy job opportunities specify that having previous experience in advocacy is desirable but not essential, so if you can show you have sufficient transferable skills you will still be in with a chance.
Transferable skills include:
- Excellent communication skills
- Experience of working with seldom heard groups or individual with additional learning, communication or comprehension needs e.g. people with learning difficulties, older people, those with significant communication difficulties
- Ability to build a positive rapport
- Can distinguish between your own and other’s views and needs
- Good level of education
- Able to treat people with dignity and respect
- PC and internet skills
- Experience of working with a range of other professionals in the social and care sector
- Committed to equal opportunities
- Good organisational and time management skills
- Able to respond to challenges and conflict in a positive way
The above list is not exhaustive but if you feel your past experience could meet some or all of the criteria above then the next step would be to look at what opportunities there are for you.
You can gain advocacy experience through volunteering. Visit the seAp Volunteering webpage for details on how to contact your local office for more details.
Other advocacy organisations also provide volunteering opportunities; try getting in touch with your local advocacy provider(s) directly to express your interest.
Paid advocacy positions will also be available from time to time and it’s worth finding out who your local advocacy organisations are to see if they have any vacancies.
Perhaps contact them directly to ask if any positions are due to be advertised soon: outline your transferable skills and ask that they keep you on record for any future posts.
You do not need to have the QIA in order to gain an advocacy role, indeed achieving the QIA will not be possible until you are practising as an advocate, as the portfolio requires evidence of advocacy practice and competence.
If you are successful in obtaining a paid advocacy post, employers are often willing to fund the full qualification as you work and most will want you to express commitment to undertaking the qualification once in post.
Most commissioners require that advocates hold or are working towards the Qualification in Independent Advocacy (QIA) so once in post it is very likely that you will need to complete it.
If you are currently working as an advocate and already hold the qualification, you can expand your knowledge and practice competence by completing any of the standalone specialist units available. You can also continue your professional development by arranging for you and your colleagues (6-12 per day) to receive bespoke, in-house CPD training on many topics relating to advocacy (see Our Courses).
Please feel free to Contact Us with any questions you have or to discuss any bespoke training needs.