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March 24, 2014 3:50 PM

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Eight people recovering from drug and alcohol problems have achieved health and social care qualifications thanks to an innovative scheme commissioned by NHSGGC.

At a special ceremony in Glasgow City Chambers, Andrew Robertson, Chair of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde presented the eight trainees with their qualification certificates.

The scheme, which provided a 38 week paid placement for trainee support workers with the SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) and The Second Chance project, with support from Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector, aimed to help the individuals who were not only in recovery but were long-term unemployed and had multiple barriers to employment.

The eight trainees, aged in their thirties and forties, achieved an SVQ Level 2 in Health and Social Care, with two of them adding an SVQ Level 3 in the same subject. 

All eight have successfully secured employment. Three with SAMH and four within the care sector.

Andrew Robertson, Chairman, NHSGGC, said:  “I am delighted to have been asked to be part of this special ceremony and am extremely proud that this innovative scheme has helped eight people change their future.”

Carole Meakin, NHSGGC Business Analyst, Addictions, said:  “Our eight volunteers have been doing some fantastic work running peer support, conversation cafes and conferences.”

They faced a strict criteria to be eligible for the courses.  All had to be 12 months in recovery from alcohol and drugs, free from criminal activities during this time, and had been a volunteer for a year either in addictions or a local volunteer network.

Carole went on:  “The focus for community drug teams is on recovery, and the knowledge and expertise that these volunteers have is vast.

“One of our key aims was to deliver recovery orientated training and employment with the emphasis on the person’s previous life experiences as an asset rather than an insurmountable barrier.

Eamon Doherty, Project Co-ordinator, said: “The trainees have successfully managed the transition from volunteer to employee which is fantastic experience for others to follow.

“The trainees can share their experience with those currently involved within the recovery communities advocating "they can do this, I have done it, which will be such an inspiration to others.”

Billy Watson, Chief Executive at SAMH said: “SAMH is delighted to have been involved in such an exciting and pioneering project.

“The feedback from both the trainees and our managers who were involved has been extremely positive and the success of the project clearly demonstrates how life-changing opportunities like this can be.”

Dianne Ferguson, The Second Chance Project added:  “It’s been a fantastic opportunity for The Second Chance Project to be part of the NHS, Alcohol and Drug Partnership (ADP) and SAMH partnership in hiring our first ever Trainee Addiction Worker, improving his future employment prospects whilst enhancing our projects programme of recovery.

“The trainee became a valued member of staff and it was a pleasure to watch his personal growth and confidence increase with each new challenge he faced.”


Notes to Editors

To address the high percentage of addiction service users not in employment, NHSGGC embarked on an innovative project to increase employability opportunities for individuals in recovery. 

One of the key tenets of the Road to Recovery is the link from treatment to volunteering to education and ultimately employment. This project has successfully fused the core elements of this to deliver recovery orientated training/employment experiences with the emphasis on the individual’s previous life experiences as an asset rather than an insurmountable barrier.

The programme has been extremely successful with trainees achieving Level 2 and Level 3 SVQs in Health and Social Care with eight of the trainees fully completing the programme.

These outcomes have shown sustained recovery, increased independence, the attainment of a qualification and employment in the open labour market whilst bringing ‘lived recovery experience’ to the health and social care profession

For further information either telephone 0141 201 4429 or email [email protected]

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photo left to right – Billy Watson, Chief Executive, Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH); Carole Meakin, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Business Analyst, Addictions; Eamon Dohorty, NHS Employability Project Co-ordinator; with their SVQ qualifications, Mary McLernon, Ross Alexander, Tracey Anderson, and William Cross; NHSGGC Chairman Andrew Robertson; John Goldie, Head of Service (Addiction, South; and David Williams, Glasgow City Council, Executive Director Social Work Services, Glasgow Alcohol, Drug Partnership.

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Last Updated: 06 February 2015