Trainee and associate placements

The Counselling Service at London Metropolitan University has an established Trainee and Associate scheme, providing a number of clinical placements for:

  • Counsellors in the advanced stages of training
  • Counsellors who are qualified and wish to gain experience in Higher Education and accumulate hours for accreditation

We welcome applicants from a variety of theoretical orientations (in counselling, psychotherapy, psychology) and from diverse personal and cultural backgrounds. The scheme offers an opportunity to gain work experience in the context of an inner city institution of Higher Education, which has a culturally diverse population and a high proportion of 'mature' (21+) students.

Recruitment Year 2020-21 - Our recruitment for the following academic year has started. Please make sure that you read all the sections below, including the 'Additional application guidelines during the pandemic (Covid-19)', before applying with us. Please be informed that the recruitment process will continue through the summer until we cover all of our vacancies. However, we urge applicants to submit their application as soon as possible. 

Update (June 2020): Following George Floyd's death and the events of the 'Black Lives Matter' movement, we have committed ourselves to changing our recruitment policy to specifically encourage and welcome black counsellors and counsellors of colour to join our service. We feel strongly that our recruitment policy needs to explicitly promote, and meet our criteria for, diversity and inclusion. Please also see our 'Equality and Diversity' and 'Black Lives Matter' statements on our main page.

The Counselling Service is based at two sites: Holloway Road and Old Castle Street (Calcutta House). Successful applicants will work at only one site. The Counselling Service is one of several in an integrated Student Services Department, consisting of:

  • Careers
  • Disabilities and Dyslexia Service (DDS)
  • International Student Support and Advice
  • Student Money and Accomodation Advice (SMAA)

The therapeutic approach of the Counselling Service is best described as ‘integrative’ and ‘relational’ (with an awareness of what is co-created in the relationship between client and counsellor). The team currently consists of one full-time service managing post and four part-time counsellor posts. Practitioners come from a variety of training backgrounds including: Person Centred, Psychodynamic, Existential, Phenomenological, Humanistic and Psychology. The team is committed to the principles and practices of working proactively with cultural diversity, race and equality issues. Across the Service, counsellors operate in a variety of time-limited arrangements, including: single sessions and periodic reviews. Normally the Service offers six sessions, but can, in some circumstances consider extending this to nine or twelve sessions depending on the circumstances and complexity of the work with a student. The Mental Health provision is generally of an ongoing and periodic nature, with a lower level of face-to-face contact. Counselling and Mental Health provision include considerable co-operative work with other parts of the University, including Academic Departments. 

We are interested in receiving applications from Trainees and Associates (counselling and Mental Health) who can meet the following basic requirements:

  • An ability to work for one full day each week (either 9am-5 pm). This includes one hour per week for clinical supervision. 
  • Our aim is to provide an experience which realistically reflects the Higher Education environment. We therefore require a willingness to work with up to five ongoing clients and to participate in the full range of Counselling Service activities. Activities will be in line with your strengths and interests and could include: day-to-day administration, staffing a drop-in centre for students, group facilitation, student induction events, Open Days, Fresher’s Fair. Where appropriate, training in carrying out these responsibilities will be provided.
  • A willingness to work across the university, eg making essential contact with others (lecturers, personal tutors, Student Journey) who are involved with Service users.

A willingness to follow through on client issues and administration outside the scheduled times. While this is kept to a minimum, there are times when it is necessary to deal with matters ranging from updating diaries to managing risk.

Placements run for a full year, usually beginning in September/October and ending in September of the following year, but occasionally advertised at other times as well. We expect applicants to commit themselves for one year.

Supervision is provided by permanent Counselling and Mental Health staff, usually in groups of 2 and working integratively and relationally. While every effort is made to ensure that supervision coincides with placement times, it may require attendance at a different time/day from counselling practice – however, this is rarely necessary. We ask those on placement not to arrange holidays or other training during committed time.

At the end of the placement year, Trainees and Associates may request to be considered for one further year’s placement to deepen the learning experience.

It is the policy of the Counselling Service not to offer placements to students or employees of the University, unless they are already working within Student Services and are not subject to conflict of role. Please also note that the Counselling Service reserves the right to contact your training organisation at any stage, if we have concerns about your work here.

1. Trainee Counsellor

Trainee counsellors are those who have not yet completed full counsellor training. To be considered you must meet the following criteria:

  • To be in the second year of an approved Diploma course or equivalent;
  • Have some counselling experience (as practitioner) is preferable though not essential;
  • Have experience of personal counselling or therapy (either individual or group). All trainees must be in personal counselling for the duration of the placement.

2. Associate Counsellor 

Associate counsellors are those who have already qualified. Associates will have the opportunity to take part in counselling assessments, for which training is provided.

  • You must have completed an  approved Counselling Diploma course (preferably within the past two years) and be seeking experience of working in Higher Education;
  • Have a minimum of 100 hours of counselling experience (as practitioner), during or after training; 
  • Have experience, preferably ongoing, of personal counselling or therapy.

Trainee psychotherapists who are in the advanced stages of training may be eligible to apply for Associate Counsellor placements. You may do so if you meet the requirements of an approved Counselling Diploma: (a) at least two years part-time duration; (b) 400+ hours taught time; and (c) includes the basic elements for BACP recognition (see section 5.1 Recognition of Counsellor Training Courses, BACP).

Please refer to the guidelines and use the application form below to complete your application (type written applications are preferred). Please use additional pages if required. Successful applicants will be invited to an interview.

Dates and times - Please indicate clearly which days and times are you available for the placement, e.g. Mondays 9am - 5pm; Tuesdays 9am – 5pm.


References - Please obtain and include two references (not just names): (a) one of which should be from your training organisation; and (b) another from someone who knows your professional work well, eg a supervisor, manager, tutor. Please do not send the application until the references have been obtained.

Personal Introduction - Please give a brief statement (no fewer than 250 - 300 words) introducing yourself in a personal way, giving the information which you think might be helpful to us in getting to know you. Please do not make any reference to counselling, mental health issues, your job or your professional life.

Qualifications - Please describe your counsellor or mental health training so far, making reference to all courses completed or being completed and giving details of the areas specified in the ‘details of training’ box. Please provide details of other non-counselling or non-mental health qualifications you may have - qualifications in practical skills, NVQs, HNDs, degrees, diplomas etc.

Details of training - In answering these points, please give most attention to your present or most significant training.

  • Where the training was completed. Please give the name and address of the institution/training centre.
  • When the training was completed.
  • Theoretical orientation of the programme.
  • Degree to which programme was experiential and/or theoretical. Please give a brief summary of the theoretical and experiential components.
  • Make clear the stage you are at in your training and if all assessment work has to date been completed.
  • The date at which you expect to qualify or the date you qualified.
  • Other qualifications. Please give details of qualifications related to counselling and mental health and other areas unrelated to counselling and mental health.

Personal counselling and other personal development activities - Please give details of your own personal counselling or psychotherapy, with approximate dates, making clear: (a) duration; (b) theoretical orientation; and (c) whether individual or group. Please make clear if you are currently in counselling or psychotherapy. Please provide details of other personal development activities with which you have engaged.

Practical Experience - Please give details of your counselling experience (as a practitioner) or experiences working with mental health issues, e.g. how many hours have you completed, in what setting and with what types of clients.

Other skills and abilities - Please describe what other skills and abilities you could bring to the role. These need not have a direct relationship to Counselling or Mental Health. They could include any of the following: administrative skills, experience of facilitating group work, teaching experience, experience of giving talks to groups of people, coaching skills and others you may be aware of.

Higher Education - Please explain: (a) what attracts you to counselling in Higher Education and (b) what skills and ideas you can bring to counselling in Higher Education institution. You should refer to any of the following: (a) your personal aspirations; (b) career objectives; (c) professional interests; (d) skills and experiences, such as running workshops, teaching and facilitation; and (e) interest in and/or understanding and experience of institutions, their cultures and structures.

Other employment - Where appropriate, please describe what other forms of employment you have had (not counselling and mental health) in either a paid or voluntary capacity. Please give dates and a brief description of the role.

Diversity - Please give an outline of your thinking in relation to diversity issues and make clear the implications of this for your work as a counsellor (no less than 200 words).

Professional memberships - Please give details of any professional memberships, membership of BACP (British Association For Counselling and Psychotherapy), UKCP (United Kingdom Council For Psychotherapy), BPS (British Psychological Society) or equivalent bodies. Are you familiar with the BACP Ethical Framework, and do you work as a counsellor in accordance the BACP Ethical Framework?

Additional requirements - If appropriate, please describe any particular requirements you would like us to have in place. We will endeavour to accommodate reasonable requests.

Other Information - Please give any other information you would like to give in support of your application?

1.  The recruitment and induction of volunteers for our October 2020 intake will be online, with interviews being held over Zoom in June. The deadline for applications is 9am on Monday 8th June 2020, but we urge applicants to submit their application as soon as possible.
2. Our volunteers are currently offering online and telephone counselling, and it is not clear when we will be able to return to offering face-to-face sessions. So, applicants must state in their application whether they are willing and able to offer counselling online or via the telephone. We will offer access to online counselling training and additional support from within our service, but it would be helpful if applicants state whether they have any previous experience or training in offering remote counselling via telephone or online.
3. Applicants will need to inform us of whether they have the facilities to offer counselling safely and securely online. This would include:
  • Access to a computer that can run Zoom and perform administrative tasks online 
  • Access to a good broadband connection.
  • A private space in which to conduct sessions in confidentiality.
  • An indication of any costs they may incur in providing the above, for which they will need reimbursement. The University has extended its commitment to covering relevant costs, and/or providing needed equipment, so as for our Counsellors to be able to provide services remotely to students and staff. If you have a specific need and/or requirement, you will have the chance to inform us during the induction process.

If you'd like to apply in future recruitments, please download our Placement Application Form and send it to us by email, to:

John Mackessy (Placements Coordinator)

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