Student support adviser: job description

Student support advisers or officers (also known as higher education advice workers or student services officers) provide free, confidential, non-judgemental information, advice and advocacy to university students.

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What does a student support adviser or higher education advice worker do? | Starting salaries | Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Student support advice workers are part of the support that universities provide for their students. They offer guidance on a range of problems that students face, such as difficulties with housing, health, academic work and disciplinary matters. They may also offer targeted advice for students with specific needs, such as part-time or mature students, or those with caring responsibilities or disabilities. The job can be emotional demanding as some students may be in crisis situations.

Typical duties include:

  • researching sources of advice
  • mediating on a student's behalf with landlords, banks, academic staff or other students
  • liaising with other university departments
  • keeping records on students receiving advice
  • keeping up to date with legislation and policies
  • promoting advice services online, through presentations to students and other university communications.

Starting salaries

According to a review targetjobs undertook of job sites, student support advice workers earn around £25,000, depending on location. As with other higher education jobs, salaries are reviewed every year, and institutions in London will include ‘London weighting’ (an extra payment to cover the higher costs of living in the capital).

Typical employers of student support advisers

  • Universities.
  • Higher education institutions.

Vacancies are advertised on universities’ websites, national newspapers’ job sites and specialist educational job sites such as jobs.ac.uk and Times Higher Education .

Qualifications and training required

Your experience of being a student will stand you in good stead if you’re keen to work as an higher education advice worker. However, relevant experience is just as important, and there may be routes into this area of work if you don’t have a degree, especially if you have experience in other advice-based roles.

Voluntary work is a good way to build the skills needed in this role. For example, you could help in a local advice centre, students' union welfare office or Citizens Advice.

Discover more about gaining volunteering experience as a student .

Key skills for student support advice workers

  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including the ability to listen with empathy and offer guidance without judgement.
  • An understanding of the need for confidentiality.
  • Organisational skills.
  • Mediation skills.
  • The ability to support people in distress.

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