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About the project

Drug and alcohol problems often go hand in hand with unemployment and, even in recovery, people face many barriers to paid employment. Scottish Drugs Forum's innovative Addiction Worker Training Project trains and provides paid work in the social care field to people who have had substance use problems. Participants enter the world of work, help improve the quality of services and make a wider contribution to their community and society.

Since the scheme launched in 2004, nearly 200 people have benefitted, with 174 going into paid employment. National Lottery funding has expanded the reach of the scheme from its initial base in Glasgow across the West and into the East of Scotland.

Project manager, Chris Messenger, says: "This is a win for participants, services and people who use services. Together we overcome the employment barriers people in recovery face; we also address the problem of recruiting and retaining quality staff in social care. The combination of training and the value of first-hand experience of addiction recovery is crucial."

May completed the project and now works in the care field. "I used drugs from age 13. My life had been spent bringing my three children up and just 'getting by'. I had deep feelings of inadequacy.

"I was four years clean and unemployed when I started the project - I was delighted to tell everyone I had a job. The idea that I would be paying my bills and creating a better life for my daughters was inspiring for me."

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