You would assist clients with welfare benefits and other housing, employment, and money difficulties.
Customers would be counselled in person, over the phone, or by letter or email. For example, you might be a general adviser or a specialist who works with a specific group (for example, carers) or provides advice on a particular subject, such as housing.
Throughout your apprenticeship, you may help:
- check clients are claiming all the benefits they are entitled to
- help people fill in forms
- help clients get ready for appeals
- speak on behalf of clients at appeal tribunals
- work with benefits agencies and other organisations
- refer clients to other services
- keep confidential records
- learn about relevant laws and welfare reforms
- publicise your service or welfare campaigns
- train staff and volunteers.
- Starting salaries for an apprentice is £21,000 per year.
- Experienced welfare rights officer can earn up to £29,000 per year.
In a full-time job you would typically work standard office hours 37 to 40 hours a week with occasional evening or Saturday sessions. Part-time work is often available.
You may work in a public-access advice centre. Local travel may also be required to attend tribunals and visit outreach centres or customers who cannot visit the office. Some welfare rights officers work for hospitals, housing organisations, or charities as part of a community-based team.
Qualifications you can achieve as an apprentice welfare rights officer include:
- Level 4 Revenue and Welfare Benefit Practitioner – Entry requirements for this level include 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship. This qualification will take 12 months to complete.
On a welfare rights officer apprenticeship, you’ll learn:
- customer service skills
- sensitivity and understanding
- knowledge of psychology
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- the ability to work well with others
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could move into specialist advice and casework, or be promoted to a team leader or management post.