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Student counselling

Volunteer Associate Counsellor work experience placements for counsellors in training.

Each year we offer a number of high quality and sought after counselling work experience placements for counsellors in training, designed to give you an opportunity to undertake unpaid work with the university.

What we offer

Successful applicants are offered a placement that can last for up to, but not more than, three years; subject to regular review. You will follow a structured programme that supports you in developing a range of counselling and employment skills and experience. You will typically see three clients per week.

Our placements emphasise a learning experience that reflects a wide range of activities and duties found in real work environments, including:

  • the opportunity to contribute in a professional counselling, health and wellbeing environment
  • a modern, innovative working environment
  • a diverse experience to enhance your employment skills
  • extensive, professional support throughout the period of placement
  • regular supervision in line with British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) requirements
  • a commitment to support your development as a skilled counsellor with regular CPD opportunities

If you are a current Cardiff University student or member of staff, due to potential boundary issues, and in line with the BACP Ethical Framework, you are not eligible for application. However, students completing the Cardiff University Postgraduate Certificate in Cognitive Behavioural Therapies are eligible to apply.

The work experience placement programme

The Student Counselling and Wellbeing service centres around ‘The Cardiff Model’, providing brief, solution-focussed therapy for students presenting with a diverse range of issues such as relationships, depression, anxiety, loss, abuse and self-harm.

With the increase of internationalisation, students seeking support present from an increasing variety of backgrounds and ethnic origins and the service is active in its response to issues surrounding Diversity. We are therefore also keen to receive applications that could help reflect this diversity within our team.

First year: You will be assisted in developing your core counselling skills, in line with the modality of your course; working with clients for up to ten sessions face-to-face at the Centre for Student Life, on Park Place.

Second year: As the work experience placement progresses, you will be trained and given the opportunity to work within the Cardiff Model; working with clients for up to four sessions, and conducting one and half hour therapeutic consultation appointments. We currently plan to have second year associates working remotely, to provide working online experience, and also to accommodate the new intake of first year associates.

Third year: Your employability and work skills will be further enhanced with the chance to learn and utilise key proficiencies working within a Wellbeing model of client support.


Associate work experience placements will normally be in the diploma year, or the second year of undergraduate, counselling training.

We only accept applications from students studying on courses accredited by:

  • The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)
  • The British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP)

If you are uncertain if your course is accredited by either of these organisations please check with your training organisation or check with the BACP or BABCP by selecting the link to their websites.

Successful candidates must be available to attend both days of a two day Induction Programme on 6 and 7 November 2023 (to be confirmed).

Places are offered conditionally, pending a successful DBS check and the receipt of references. Ideally you will already have a DBS certificate on the DBS update service.

Values and behaviours

We are looking for individuals who are:

  • open to learning; self reflective learners, willing to receive feedback and grow from experiences
  • adaptable
  • able to demonstrate empathy
  • enthusiastic and professional with an ability to collaborate with the team
  • willing to challenge themselves and be challenged

Complete our application form

Applications close at midnight on Monday 14 August.

Contact us

If you have any questions, please email Eleanor Brown, Placement Co-ordinator, at