- counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
- knowledge of psychology
- customer service skills
- sensitivity and understanding
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- the ability to work well with others
- the ability to understand people’s reactions
- to enjoy working with other people
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
Your day-to-day duties might include:
- outreach work - visiting substance users and helping with immediate needs
- drop-in centre work - talking to clients about their needs and finding ways of supporting them towards recovery
- counselling and rehabilitation - giving support and dealing with the causes of substance misuse
- arrest referral work - supporting clients arrested for drug-related offences
- education and training - helping clients access services
- healthcare - working as a specialist nurse in an addiction clinic
- needle exchange - providing clean sharps and giving advice on how to use substances safely
You could work at a health centre, at a school, in the community, in a prison or at an outreach centre.
Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.
With experience, you could become a volunteer coordinator, project team leader or service manager.
You can find out more about becoming a drug and alcohol worker from Turning Point.