European project to give people in recovery from substance use in Scotland the opportunity to learn abroad

A new European funded project is set to give people who have experienced drug or alcohol problems the opportunity to develop their career prospects by taking part in a work and learning experience in another European country.

The European Action for Employment in Recovery (EAER) aims to deliver positive and long-lasting effects on employability and increase the number of employment opportunities for people who have had substance use problems.

Funded by Erasmus+, the European Union programme for education, training, youth and sport, the project is a two-year Vocational and Educational Strategic Partnership between four European agencies, of which Scottish Drugs Forum (SDF) is the lead partner.  SDF will be supported by the Dutch Foundation for Innovation in Welfare to Work,  Agência Piaget para o Desenvolvimento (APDES) in Portugal and Comunità La Tenda Cooperativa Sociale from Perugia in Italy.

SDF – Scotland’s national resource of expertise on drug-related issues – already carries out significant work around increasing the employability of people in recovery through its innovative Addiction Worker Training Project (AWTP), an initiative that supports and trains people who have experienced substance use problems to work in the social care field.

The EAER will see a small group of AWTP trainees carry out a brief learning and work placement abroad, alongside European peers, while the partnership will work to build capacity to support employment opportunities for people who have or who have had a drug problem in each of the countries involved.

This will be achieved by strategic work locally and trans-nationally, culminating in the development of an online e-platform for workers and people who use drug, alcohol and employability services, alongside the development of innovative digital training and two European project conferences – one to be hosted in Glasgow.

As well as providing an exciting opportunity for prospective trainees to experience another culture, the project will also be beneficial for the partner organisations who will exchange knowledge and best practice through the newly developed network.

Chris Messenger, Senior Development Officer for AWTP and EAER Project Manager says:

“SDF has a long and proud history of supporting people who have experienced problems with drug or alcohol use into employment with our hugely successful Addiction Worker Training Project. Since 2004, we have employed over 250 people through AWTP, with over 85 per cent of our graduates securing further employment, mostly in the health and social care field.

“We are delighted that Erasmus+ has seen the benefit of funding the EAER project, an initiative in which we will be able to share extensive learning from AWTP.  EAER will broaden the horizons and perspectives of our trainees and enhance our employability work even further, I fully expect that SDF will benefit through the interaction and engagement of our European partners – each of whom has excellent practice we can learn from.”

The first meeting of the EAER and its partners took place in Glasgow on the 22nd and 23rd of October, where each of the partner organisations came together to discuss the first important steps of the project. The next will be in the Netherlands in February 2019.

You can follow the progress of the project by following it on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.