From volunteer to training supervisor
Volunteering at Citizens Advice has long been recognised as an effective way to develop new skills and experience and, for many, has been a way into the workforce or to bridge the gap after a career break. Adam Zaki charts his career at Citizens Advice Westminster, where he has progressed from volunteer to Training and Quality Supervisor in less than 3 years.
Can you explain your journey from volunteer to full-time staff member and Training and Quality Supervisor?
I started as part of a small team of volunteers training for the gateway assessor role at our office in Pimlico. Following my training, I began my journey as a volunteer gateway assessor at our previous premises in Harrow Road.I hit the ground running, as on my first day of gateway assessing, I assisted 20 clients with their enquiries. As I very much enjoyed my time at Citizens Advice Westminster and my role as a gateway assessor, I decided to opt- in for the adviser training programme. I continued volunteering at Citizens Advice Westminster as a generalist adviser and gateway assessor. Soon after, I was offered a part-time position as a gateway assessor, while continuing with with my role as a volunteer adviser on the other 2 days per week. After providing generalist advice for over a year, I applied for a part-time position as a generalist adviser on the Disability Advice Project alongside my part-time gateway assessor role. I then moved on to become a full-time adviser/caseworker for about 18 months. Following my extensive experience as an adviser/caseworker, I then became a member of the advice supervisor team working closely with our Training Coordinator. When she left the bureau, I was offered the position of Training and Quality Supervisor.
What does this role involve?
The role of the Training and Quality Supervisor involves regular recruitment into our fantastic volunteer roles and opportunities as well as the training of all staff and volunteers across all roles in our organisation. My most recent and first ever recruitment drive was a very exciting experience. I planned and arranged an open day at our office in Paddington, providing those who had expressed an interest in volunteering with us the opportunity to understand more about our organisation and the services we provide. From that campaign, we welcomed 34 new volunteers into our organisation. As the Training and Quality Supervisor, I am also responsible for the quality auditing of our advice and gateway assessment work.
What has been your most fulfilling client story?
During my time as an adviser/caseworker, I assisted a wonderful client to claim her backdated entitlement to income support of approximately £12,000. She had had no idea of her eligibility for this benefit prior to her journey with us here at Citizens Advice Westminster. The award of the substantial backdated amount meant that she was able to start her life afresh without the stress of being in debt, for which she was so very grateful.
What would be your message to anyone thinking of volunteering at Citizens Advice Westminster?
Absolutely go for it! You’ll learn so much and will develop the necessary skills required for any career you may want to pursue.