Durham University Counselling
Counselling is a challenging career for a graduate to enter after a first degree. Accredited postgraduate study is required along with significant relevant experience. The job market for counsellors is difficult but opportunities exist in a range of sectors, notably health, education and not-for-profit. Counselling as a career is very diverse, reflecting different approaches and fields of specialism. It is a profession that enables practitioners to operate in a person centred fashion; the skills associated with counselling are transferable to many other ‘people professions’ within health, social care and education.
You will find an overview of working in the social care sector on the Prospects website
The following occupational profiles come from Prospects too and provide an idea of the type of work available in this area. They have been written and researched by staff working within careers services across the country. They contain a lot of useful information that will help with your initial research. They are just a sample, you can look for more on the website .
Work experience, as you would expect, is of great importance. Counselling is a career that requires a combination of experience and professional qualifications. It is not necessarily something that can be entered immediately after graduation which is why it is so important to gain relevant experience during your time at university.
At university opportunities exist to engage in student welfare support via your college. Nightline is a telephone support service for Durham students providing both training and volunteering opportunities. Student Community Action is not specifically concerned with counselling or student welfare but provides a range of opportunities to engage with different groups and individuals.
External experience is available through the many organisations, such as Cruse, Relate and the Samaritans, that provide support and listening services. It is possible to gain experience as a listening volunteer; Samaritans are one example of an organisation that recruits this type of volunteer. Positions have to be applied for, training undertaken and a commitment made to undertake one 3-4 hours shift per week. Consequently volunteer positions of this type have to be considered very carefully because of the commitment involved but they do provide excellent experience. Listening and counselling services primarily exist in the not-for-profit sector but opportunities also exist within the public (local authorities, hospitals and community health teams, schools) and private (HR departments of large organisations) sectors. Higher and Further Education institutions normally provide a counselling service as part of their broader student services.