Overview of the role

Work alongside other professionals in hospital, justice and community settings.

Details of standard

Occupation summary

This occupation is found in a range of services that embed peer-led roles within third sector, community, social enterprise and statutory sectors, including the NHS, health, justice, housing, and private providers of specialist services. Peer support has a long history in social justice, human rights and community action. The occupation is unique in that it is only open to those who have expertise through lived experience.

Peer Workers support individuals across all age groups who may be experiencing:

  • severe mental distress
  • mental health crises
  • perinatal mental health difficulties
  • long term conditions
  • addiction problems
  • problem gambling
  • rough sleeping.

The broad purpose of this occupation is to work alongside other professionals in hospital, justice and community settings, providing peer support for individuals using knowledge gained from their own lived experience of health or social problems and/or using services.

Peer support is founded on a non-coercive, human rights-based approach that focuses on building relationships. Working within clearly agreed boundaries, Peer Workers purposefully share their own experiences, and through the mutual sharing and commonality of experience, they can embody hopefulness. They maintain equality with, and work alongside, others facing similar experiences and challenges in their health and wellbeing. Their work is underpinned by mutuality and reciprocity, widely recognised as core principles of peer support, with the central focus being on building trusting relationships rather than intervention.

As an autonomous member of the multi-professional team, the Peer Worker works with individuals through 1-to-1, group-based, drop-in and online/remote contact, focusing on building relationships and opportunities to learn together. They draw on their own lived experience as the foundation for supporting individuals to move towards user-led goals.

Peer Workers support individuals to build skills through modelling, signposting, and self-advocacy. They work directly with individuals, enabling them to find their own ways of understanding their circumstances in order to move forward. Creating a safe and trusting space provides for an honest and open dialogue in which different experiences can be shared and different ways of understanding can be considered. Using knowledge from their own lived experiences of challenges, accessing support and navigating a range of services, a Peer Worker can provide purposeful and safe disclosure of their personal experiences to share and model self-help and self-management skills.

They work as part of a team to provide peer support in combination with the individuals’ service-led care and support plans. They complement, as well as provide alternatives to a wider package of care and support involving multiple agencies. They will report to the Team Manager/Care Co-ordinator and will have access to both line management and peer supervision that can be in either a 1-to-1 or group setting. Peer supervision opportunities are used by the Peer Worker to reflect on, evaluate and develop the way they work. Examples of peer supervision conversations include discussing issues of mutuality and equality, ethical dilemmas and when to challenge practices that exert power and control and restrict the choice of individuals.

They provide intentional peer support within the context of empowerment, choice, self-determination, and self-managed care. They support individuals and carers to gain an increased sense of control within their own unique circumstances and connection to local communities. They also facilitate mutually-negotiated practical assistance, promoting the individual’s awareness of social networks, activities, groups or other opportunities in which they have expressed an interest, and how these can be accessed.

In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with the wider team working alongside other professionals and has direct contact with individuals as well as their families and carers. As members of multi-professional teams, their key relationships may include:

  • GPs
  • Practitioner Psychologists
  • members of the nursing team
  • housing support workers
  • Psychiatrists
  • Social Workers
  • Occupational Therapists
  • custodial and probation services
  • police
  • teachers.

 Peer Workers may also interact with:

  • external partnership agencies
  • local Recovery Colleges
  • employment programmes
  • self-help groups
  • education setting
  • leisure and community centres that promote social inclusion opportunities.

An employee in this occupation will be responsible for delivery of peer-based approaches as agreed with individuals and groups within the peer relationship. Peer Workers use intentional, experiential sharing to support individuals to identify and work toward self-defined goals. In their interactions, they draw on their lived experience of overcoming challenges and accessing resources, whilst being mindful of applying peer-based approaches when sharing those experiences, e.g. underpinning conversations with a trauma-informed approach. Through the peer relationship and principles of co-production, the individual and Peer Worker will co-develop and work towards self-defined goals. The Peer Worker supports individuals through significant changes in their life circumstances and facilitates access to different sources of support to build or re-establish trust and relationships with services.

They will collate information on available services with the individuals they are supporting, such as housing, benefit entitlements and wider community resources. Using effective communication, Peer Workers support individuals to understand their rights and choices so they are in a better position to self-advocate.

They challenge risk-averse workplace culture and encourage positive risk taking when supporting individuals to move towards self-defined goals. Peer Workers take an active role in promoting and modelling peer values within the service setting they work in, for example promoting a strengths-based approach or co-production. They aim to improve the organisational understanding of lived experience which can lead to wider discussions within the service setting they work in around systems change and improving staff well-being. They can be actively involved in service improvement initiatives, contributing ideas to the multi-professional team or other relevant staff committees to encourage commitment to a personal recovery and wellbeing-orientated culture. They also support training and development activity, which can include awareness training for staff around the role of Peer Workers and wellbeing training.

Peer Workers embody the values of peer support and use peer-based approaches in all their work-related interactions. By safely sharing their lived experiences, they can help to positively challenge stereotypes that co-workers and partner agencies may have toward, for example, mental health or substance misuse. Issues they may challenge in these situations include the stigma that can surround individuals with mental health experiences, low expectations (e.g. of workplace capability), and discriminatory practices against such individuals.

Peer Workers recognise the importance of self-care. They maintain accurate records of their work as required. Where appropriate, records will be co-produced with the individual they are supporting. They are also responsible for ensuring that resources are managed effectively. They may work shifts including unsocial hours and weekends.

Typical job titles include:

Carer peer support worker Lived experience practitioner Peer care navigator Peer coach Peer link worker Peer mentor Peer support worker

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements but apprentices must have lived experience relevant to the role. 

Occupation duties

Duty KSBs

Duty 1 Establish safe, supportive and respectful relationships with individuals, carers and families

K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K6 K7 K8 K9 K10 K11

S1 S2 S3 S4 S5

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5

Duty 2 Safely discloses personal experiences with individuals and models self-help and self-management skills

K12 K13 K14 K15

S6 S7 S8

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5

Duty 3 Use co-production and lived experience to support individuals and groups to identify and work toward their self-defined goals

K16 K17 K18 K19 K20 K21 K22 K23 K24

S9 S10 S11 S12 S13 S14 S15 S16 S17

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5

Duty 4 Empower individuals to self-advocate and understand their rights and choices

K25 K26 K27

S18 S19 S20

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5

Duty 5 Identify, facilitate access to or signpost resources within the service and communities that promote choice, informed decision making and are aligned to personal goals

K28 K29 K30 K31 K32 K33

S21 S22 S23 S24

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5

Duty 6 Represent and promote peer support within development activities and service development

K34 K35 K36 K37 K38

S25 S26 S27 S28

B1 B2 B4

Duty 7 Work as part of the team and contribute to service improvement

K39 K40 K41 K42 K43 K44 K45

S29 S30 S31 S32 S33 S34 S35

B2 B4

Duty 8 Maintain their peer perspective by using personal development and supervision to reflect on the role

K46 K47 K48

S36 S37 S38 S39

B1 B2 B4

Duty 9 Maintain the safety of themselves and others and encourage positive risk taking putting the best interests, needs and preferences of the individual first

K49 K50 K51 K52 K53

S40 S41 S42 S43 S44

B2 B3 B4 B5

Duty 10 Communicates effectively with individuals, colleagues, and other services in the context of peer support and provides feedback to individuals

K54 K55 K56 K57 K58

S45 S46 S47 S48 S49 S50

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5



K1: The core values and principles of peer support Back to Duty

K2: Legislation related to equality, diversity & inclusion Back to Duty

K3: The way unconscious bias can affect peer relationships Back to Duty

K4: The importance of establishing and adhering to the boundaries of the peer relationship Back to Duty

K5: Empowerment and its role in peer support Back to Duty

K6: How health and socio-economic inequalities can influence the individual’s experience and needs Back to Duty

K7: The rights of carers and the organisation’s families and carer strategy/carer engagement protocol Back to Duty

K8: How to manage and prepare for the ending of the peer relationship Back to Duty

K9: The significance of culture and identity and how this can influence the individual’s experience and needs Back to Duty

K10: Ethical dilemmas that may arise within the peer relationship Back to Duty

K11: The history and value of the peer support movement and its relationship to systems, inequalities, power and civil rights Back to Duty

K12: The purpose of sharing lived experience, and how much to share in a relevant way Back to Duty

K13: Self-help and self-management approaches that can be used by individuals being supported Back to Duty

K14: How to support individuals to develop self-help and self-management approaches through modelling Back to Duty

K15: Problem solving skills that can be used by individual’s being supported Back to Duty

K16: The principles of involvement and co-production within own scope of practice Back to Duty

K17: Goal setting and how to support individuals to establish self-defined goals using co-production Back to Duty

K18: Care planning, the individual’s current care and support needs and where to find that information Back to Duty

K19: How to apply trauma informed approaches in own work Back to Duty

K20: Where to find information on care and support options available and what they provide within their organisation and the local community Back to Duty

K21: The importance and value of building links with local community organisations as sources of support Back to Duty

K22: The differences between guidance, advice and information Back to Duty

K23: How to facilitate and manage groups Back to Duty

K24: Types of settings where restrictions on access to sources of information may apply to individuals Back to Duty

K25: The rights and choices of the individual within the context of their circumstances Back to Duty

K26: The importance of advocacy and self-advocacy in relation to the individual being supported Back to Duty

K27: How to support the individual to prepare for reviews, complete applications and referrals Back to Duty

K28: The importance of maintaining up to date knowledge of existing resources, identifying gaps in sources of support and how to search out new resources Back to Duty

K29: How to raise awareness of the sources of support available and connecting individual's to the right resources for their needs Back to Duty

K30: The importance of signposting in ways that are the most likely to be used independently by the individual Back to Duty

K31: How stigma and labelling can affect individuals Back to Duty

K32: Factors that may limit an individual’s access to resources and how to overcome these Back to Duty

K33: The importance of following up with an individual to determine if signposting has met their needs or whether alternatives should be sought Back to Duty

K34: How to get involved in service development activities to provide a peer perspective Back to Duty

K35: The value of promoting the peer worker role to encourage understanding and acceptance of the role Back to Duty

K36: The value of promoting lived experience perspectives and raising the concerns of individuals being supported Back to Duty

K37: How to present information to individuals and groups Back to Duty

K38: How individuals learn and how to tailor training delivery to the audience Back to Duty

K39: How to work effectively in a team setting Back to Duty

K40: How to promote the service user perspective within the team Back to Duty

K41: The value of peer and professional networks Back to Duty

K42: The limits of responsibility and competence of the peer worker role and where to seek advice, support or assistance when these limits are reached Back to Duty

K43: How to positively challenge an individual or organisation’s low expectations of the individuals being supported Back to Duty

K44: The action to take in line with organisational policy when discriminatory practice or behaviour is observed Back to Duty

K45: How to manage own time, work priorities and resources effectively Back to Duty

K46: The purpose and value of supervision, appraisals and personal development planning Back to Duty

K47: Reflective practice how to use it effectively Back to Duty

K48: The importance of self-care and available support structures Back to Duty

K49: How to identify risk and undertake risk assessments following organisational policies and procedures Back to Duty

K50: How to facilitate discussions on risk, acknowledge different perspectives on risk, promote positive risk taking and how and when to escalate concerns regarding risk Back to Duty

K51: The principles of safeguarding Back to Duty

K52: Legislation and organisational policy regarding risk and safeguarding Back to Duty

K53: How to communicate with the individuals they support and the wider multi-disciplinary team Back to Duty

K54: How to create and hold a safe space with someone experiencing distress Back to Duty

K55: How to give feedback to the individuals being supported Back to Duty

K56: How to seek and receive feedback from the individuals they support and the wider multi-disciplinary team Back to Duty

K57: The organisation’s policy on record keeping Back to Duty

K58: Legislation and organisational requirements on confidentiality, consent and information sharing Back to Duty


S1: Develop and maintain mutual and reciprocal peer relationships Back to Duty

S2: Mutually establish the purpose and boundaries within the peer relationship Back to Duty

S3: Engage with and support families and carers Back to Duty

S4: Manage and prepare for the ending of the peer relationship Back to Duty

S5: Purposefully share lived experience within the context of the peer relationship Back to Duty

S6: Establish connections with the individual based on shared understanding of experiences Back to Duty

S7: Model self-help and self-management approaches for the individual they are supporting Back to Duty

S8: Support the individual to develop self-management and problem-solving skills Back to Duty

S9: Support individuals to identify opportunities and overcome setbacks and challenges when trying to achieve self-defined goals Back to Duty

S10: Support individuals to work toward self-defined goals using peer-based approaches in 1-to-1, drop-in or virtual settings Back to Duty

S11: Support individual-led activities Back to Duty

S12: Collaboratively discuss care and support options with the individual Back to Duty

S13: Actively contributes to an individual’s care and goal plans with the individual Back to Duty

S14: Sets up and work with groups to facilitate working toward individual or shared goals within the group setting Back to Duty

S15: Support individuals to safely access support for their goals through digital platforms Back to Duty

S16: Support the individual during changes in their life circumstances Back to Duty

S17: Discuss concerns with the individual and when necessary raise any issues with an appropriate colleague or supervisor Back to Duty

S18: Support the individual to self-advocate and through self-determination, make choices and control the care and support options open to them Back to Duty

S19: Signpost to advocacy services Back to Duty

S20: Support the individual to prepare for reviews and complete applications or referrals, e.g. housing, medication review, food bank, benefits Back to Duty

S21: Identify new resources or community projects that could be accessed by individuals being supported Back to Duty

S22: Raise awareness and understanding of the opportunities available to the individuals being supported Back to Duty

S23: Act as a community connector to build links with community resources Back to Duty

S24: Support individuals to navigate through systems to access support, signposting resources relevant to their circumstances and self-defined goals that they can access independently Back to Duty

S25: Support co-production and delivery of learning and development activities to raise awareness and understanding of the Peer Worker’s role and remit Back to Duty

S26: Use service development activities to tackle stigma and labelling to encourage culture change Back to Duty

S27: Give presentations and deliver training to small groups Back to Duty

S28: Promote the lived experience perspectives and concerns of the individual being supported across own workplace and other organisations and services Back to Duty

S29: Promote and embed peer-based approaches in teams and services with which they work Back to Duty

S30: Use meetings with other multi-disciplinary team members to facilitate understanding of the individual’s perspective and their rights Back to Duty

S31: Work collaboratively with the multi-disciplinary team and other organisations or services Back to Duty

S32: Positively challenge low expectations and discriminatory practice to influence system change and enhance services Back to Duty

S33: Seek advice, support or assistance from the appropriate person when the limits of own responsibility and competence has been reached Back to Duty

S34: Manage own time and work priorities, using resources effectively Back to Duty

S35: Develop and maintain peer and professional networks Back to Duty

S36: Actively participate in team and peer supervision Back to Duty

S37: Reflect on and applies learning to practice Back to Duty

S38: Recognise the importance of self-care, taking appropriate action when required Back to Duty

S39: Participate in appraisal, personal development planning and continuous professional development Back to Duty

S40: Identify risks and contribute to required risk assessments Back to Duty

S41: Facilitate discussions with individuals and between the individual and the services they use on potential risks to their health and safety when working toward their self-defined goals Back to Duty

S42: Promote positive risk taking and different perspectives on risk within the team Back to Duty

S43: Take action in line with organisational policy where there are safeguarding concerns Back to Duty

S44: Recognise high-risk situations and takes action in line with organisational policy Back to Duty

S45: Adapt their communication to meet the needs of others Back to Duty

S46: Support individual's who are experiencing distress Back to Duty

S47: Provide relevant and supportive feedback to the individual in the peer relationship Back to Duty

S48: Actively seek feedback from individuals or groups on the support provided Back to Duty

S49: Maintain accurate records, ensuring where records are about the individual being supported, these are co-produced Back to Duty

S50: Follow legal and organisational requirements when dealing with confidentiality, consent and information sharing Back to Duty


B1: Through sharing mutual experiences establishes the peer relationship and inspires hope Back to Duty

B2: Acknowledges diversity of experiences and works in an inclusive way Back to Duty

B3: Develops and shares a commonality of mutual experience and establishes equality within the peer relationship Back to Duty

B4: Compassionate, showing respect and kindness to self and others Back to Duty

B5: Explores choices in a non-directive and non-judgemental way with the individual being supported and empowers them to come to their own decisions Back to Duty


English and Maths

Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the End-Point Assessment. For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement, the apprenticeship’s English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3. A British Sign Language (BSL) qualification is an alternative to the English qualification for those whose primary language is BSL.

Additional details

Occupational Level:


Duration (months):



this apprenticeship will be reviewed in accordance with our change request policy.

Status: Approved for delivery
Level: 3
Reference: ST0896
Version: 1.0
Date updated: 28/11/2022
Approved for delivery: 20 July 2022
Route: Health and science
Typical duration to gateway: 15 months
Typical EPA period: 3 months
Maximum funding: £5000
LARS Code: 682
EQA Provider: Ofqual
Employers involved in creating the standard: Barnet Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust; Anawim; Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation NHS Trust; Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust; Camden & Islington NHS Foundation Trust; Emerging Futures; Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH); Hertfordshire Mind Network; Kent & Medway Partnership NHS Trust; Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust; Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust; North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust; Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust; Mountain Healthcare Ltd; Shelter - Birmingham Hub; Solent Mind; Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust; Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust;

Version log

Version Change detail Earliest start date Latest start date Latest end date
1.0 Approved for delivery 20/07/2022 Not set Not set

Crown copyright © 2024. You may re-use this information (not including logos) free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence. Visit www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence

Is this webpage useful?

Thank you for your feedback

Tell us about your experience