One of our volunteer advisers summarised their Citizens Advice training experience during the pandemic.
“Training as an adviser during the pandemic was a little solitary without colleagues around to support- but it was an excellent exercise for the brain.
The majority of courses available online were easy to access. I learnt not to worry if the technology would not allow me to complete a course unit. The video learning was also useful although some of the videos were a little laboured and some not perhaps as relevant.
Webinars were a real bonus and the closest experience I have had to training with other trainees. The trainers were very professional and we all managed to overcome the challenges of less than optimum internet connections with good humour. It was good to talk in break-out groups to people from all over the country and some of the role-play worked well, with feedback from other groups very useful.
Having regular time set aside by the EDP trainer for a virtual meeting with other trainees, helped me to understand how others were learning. Equally, listening into the weekly meeting, the set-up in the office gradually started to make some sense.
I found the virtual and then actual support from experienced volunteers really useful. A weekly zoom call was set up so that I could hear incoming calls to an experienced volunteer adviser. I was then able to discuss the client’s case with the volunteer, look up information, and then hear the call-back when the volunteer supported the client. I could then complete a write up and read the actual case written by the volunteer adviser.
More recently, when I have taken client calls in the office, I have had dedicated support from an experienced volunteer who gives feedback on my interaction and offers guidance for improvement.
Guidance from the EDP trainer as to areas for focus has been essential – how am I doing, where to go next. I am still training systematically – as I want to be as good as I can be for each client I meet or talk to on the telephone.”