Community and advice work

The jobs featured in this section represent just some of the varied roles within the sector. For a detailed list of jobs see the job profiles.

Careers guidance

A careers adviser provides information, advice and guidance to help people make realistic choices about their education, training and work. They may work in schools, colleges, universities or commercial providers, advising school children, college or university students or adults who may want a career change or need help with further training.

The majority of employers will look for candidates who have, or who are willing to work towards, the Qualification in Careers Guidance (QCG). This combines theoretical academic study with practical work experience and takes one year full time or two years part time. The QCG is open to graduates of any discipline.

Community work

Community development workers help communities to bring about social change and improve the quality of life in their local area. They work with individuals, families and whole communities to empower them to identify what is needed and plan change. A community worker often forms a link between communities and the voluntary and local authority organisations which support them.

Experience of volunteering within the community or having a background in Youth Work, social work or teaching is a good starting point. Qualifications in community development range from NVQs and City & Guilds to postgraduate courses. Roles may exist either in the public or charity sectors.


Counsellors help people to explore feelings and emotions that are often related to their experiences. This allows their clients to reflect on what is happening to them and consider alternative ways of doing things. Counsellors can specialise and work in areas such as health, addiction or marriage guidance. Confidentiality, sensitivity and trust are key.

Qualifications accredited to the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) are often a pre-requisite to practise. Diploma Courses can last one year full-time or 2-3 years part-time. Shorter introductory taster courses of around 12 weeks are available to see if it's right for you.

Social care

Social carers assist people with daily activities, either in their own home, in day centres or in residential care. As the UK populations ages the demand for social care for the elderly has increased and seems likely to continue doing so. There are also opportunities assisting children, families, people with disabilities or special needs.

Social care is not normally considered a graduate career, but there are graduate routes aimed at future managers. Some graduates work in the sector to gain pre-entry experience for other caring careers. See also Social work

Youth work

Youth workers promote the personal, educational and social development of young people. Programmes aim to engage young people, redress inequalities, value opinions and empower individuals to take action on issues affecting their lives, including health, education, unemployment and the environment, by developing positive skills and attitudes.

Youth work is a graduate profession. Entrants must either take an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in youth work validated by the National Youth Agency (NYA).

  • National Youth Agency (NYA) Lists accredited courses in the 'getting qualified section' which can be found in 'workforce and training'.
  • UK Youth Includes member organisation contact details.