Debt advisers – also known as debt counsellors, money advisers and financial advisers – work with people who are struggling to pay off debt. They help their clients to find ways to repay debt affordably and provide advice on dealing with the impacts of debt. Clients could be struggling to meet their mortgage payments or rent, or have difficulties paying back a loan.
Other responsibilities of the job include:
- researching cases
- identifying and discussing appropriate options
- providing information and expert advice
- talking with creditors and working out the best repayment plan
- offering support
- compiling financial statements
- preparing/distributing publicity materials and displays
- attending meetings
- taking the place of clients in court when asked to do so
- liaising with other organisations when referring clients on.
Clients may be in crisis situations with complex problems that take time to resolve, so debt advisers need patience and resilience to guide people through these difficult situations. They may work shifts if their employer provides telephone advice.
Typical employers of debt advisers
- Charities and voluntary organisations
- Citizens Advice
- Community centres
Vacancies are usually advertised via local voluntary organisations, community centres, local authorities and private organisations that offer debt advice. You'll also find them via the Citizens Advice, AdviceUK and Charity Job websites.
You don't need a degree to become a debt adviser, but work experience involving supporting people or providing advice will strengthen your application. Look for voluntary work via your university or search online – you could start by finding the website of your local volunteer centre.
In this line of work, personality and relevant experience are usually more important than your degree subject, although qualifications in law, counselling, guidance, psychology, education, social/community work, public administration or social sciences can be helpful. Customer service experience and problem-solving skills will also help your application, even if you haven't gained them in this sector.
You'll need to be resourceful and good at solving problems. Other useful skills and qualities include:
- strong communication skills, with the ability to explain clearly through both writing and speaking
- organisation and the ability to prioritise effectively
- the ability to think logically
- a level of skill in numeracy
- patience and sensitivity
- the ability to listen carefully and offer support
- a thoughtful and mature approach.