Celebrate! Addiction Worker Trainees graduate on pathway to working in services

Thursday 29 June  

Nineteen new graduates from the SDF Addiction and Recovery Worker Training Projects (AWTP) celebrated their achievements at a prestigious Graduation Ceremony in the Glasgow City Chambers yesterday. The event celebrated the achievements of trainees who had over the course of a 9-month traineeship with SDF gained qualifications and undertaken field placements in local partner agencies across Scotland. 

The trainees came from across Scotland: Argyll and Bute, East Ayrshire, Edinburgh, Fife, Glasgow, Highland, and North Lanarkshire.  They were presented with certificates and awards of completion by Elena Whitham MSP, Minister for Drugs and Alcohol Policy.  Ms Whitham said ‘It is a privilege to join the celebrations marking the continued success of Scottish Drugs Forum’s Addiction Worker Training Project.  

‘’People with lived and living experience of substance use can bring immense value to the alcohol and drug workforce. Through shared understandings and relationships built on trust, they are vital in supporting people to remain engaged with services.  

‘I congratulate each and every one of the graduates for their hard work and achievements over the last nine months. I wish them all the best in their future careers and appreciate their ongoing commitment to the national mission to prevent drug deaths and improve lives.’ 

SDF CEO Kirsten Horsburgh reflected ‘The graduation is the culmination of the trainees’ participation and marks the beginning of their transition into employment.  It is always a poignant moment for partners, families and friends to mark the achievement of completing the programme.  For many this is a landmark and a moment to reflect on their own recovery.   

‘The AWTP has helped transform the workforce in services and particularly drug treatment and support services where people with their own lived experience bring insight and empathy to the work. The AWTP contribution is to ensure that experience is the basis for professional and sustainable employment so that people can continue to contribute their skills and knowledge.  

‘The programme is growing and we are able to take on trainees due both to Scottish Government and local funders and we are grateful to those funders and to the local services which provide work placements – many of whom have gone on to employee the trainees they once had in placement.’ 

Funding for the programme has previously been sourced locally through Alcohol and Drug Partnerships and other partners but, in January of this year the Government announced that, for the first time, central funding for the programme would be available.  This has enabled SDF to double the programme and provide 41 places for the 2023 project.  Recruits for the 2023 programme have recently started their own AWTP journey. This additional resource brings the total number of people to have had their lives transformed by participating in the programme to 400 since AWTP was established.