Guidance counsellors and adult guidance information officers are often required to work in a number of different Outreach Centres. Therefore, they may be required to: identify the parameters of the geographical area; become familiar with all the Centres and negotiate a suitable working area and time of attendance. There are some simple guidelines, outlined below, which should help make working in an outreach environment a good experience.
When guidance counsellors meet with their clients for ‘one to one’ sessions in an Outreach Centre, the space they work in should:-
- be a dedicated room for the use of the Guidance Service at specific times;
- be located in a quiet area with no distractions (such as noise);
- Explain the need for privacy without interruptions - consider placing a ‘Do not disturb’ sign on the door when the room is in use;
- Be a suitable environment - suitably lit, heated and ventilated with adequate seating and ideally, a table;
- have a cupboard or storage area for the most commonly used materials and resources;
- have internet access to link in to the guidance counsellor’s laptop;
- be visible and integrated within the Centre.
It is important, particularly when working with high risk clients, to give consideration to:-
- Visibility - Having a meeting room that incorporates glass panels into the door or doors;
- Security - Having a secure storage area for staff personal belongings;
- Safety - Items which could be used as weapons, such as scissors, need to be securely stored away;
- Access - Doors need to open from both sides and guidance counsellors need to position themselves to that they can exit the room without obstruction;
- Emergency- There needs to be a system in place for raising the alarm in cases of emergency;
(In providing an Adult Educational Guidance Service, ensure that you have access to and comply with your employer's (ETB+WIT) Health and Safety Policies.)
Can you identify any other safety precautions you might want to take when working with high risk clients?