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Substance misuse outreach worker

Substance misuse outreach workers advise people with drug or alcohol problems and encourage them to get help from local support services.

Annual Salary

£20,000 to £35,000

Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 39 a week

You could work: on call; flexibly

Future employment

There will be 4% more Substance misuse outreach worker jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

In this role you might work with individuals or groups to:

  • find out what the situation is and support people to manage their own recovery
  • help choose the best services for support
  • help people access services like housing or benefits advice
  • help people get to appointments or fill out forms
  • give practical and emotional support to families
  • write reports and keep confidential records

Working environment

You could work at an outreach centre, in the community or at a health centre.

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • volunteering
  • applying directly

You could do a part time college course to give you an understanding of substance misuse.

You could do a level 1 or 2 award in substance misuse awareness or a level 3 certificate in tackling substance misuse.

For more information

You could do a peer worker advanced apprenticeship or an early intervention practitioner higher apprenticeship.

You could also do an adult care worker intermediate apprenticeship to get some of the skills and knowledge you need to become a substance misuse outreach worker.

Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements but it may help you to get in if you have:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship
For more information
Volunteering and work experience

You could volunteer with a drug, alcohol or housing charity to build skills and get work experience.

You could also volunteer with a substance misuse organisation. You can find contact details for an organisation near you from Frank.

Direct application

You could apply directly to an employer.

You'll need a good understanding of the issues people with substance misuse problems might face. You might also need experience in criminal justice, social care, youth work or counselling.

You could also apply if you have personal experience of addiction or dependency. Applications are usually welcome from people who have successfully come through treatment.

More information

You can find out more about becoming a substance misuse outreach worker from Alcohol Change UK and With You.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

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With experience, you couldbecome a senior recover worker, volunteer co-ordinator or project team leader.

You could also specialise in working with a particular group like young people.

You can find out more about becoming a substance misuse outreach worker from Alcohol Change UK and Addaction.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • 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
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