The Project

Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector (GCVS) Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) Centre works in partnership with Scottish Drugs Forum (SDF) and other providers as part of their Addiction Worker Training Project (AWTP).

The AWTP is an initiative which supports, trains and prepares individuals with a history of problematic drug and alcohol use to work in social care. The project has been running since 2004, helping former drug and alcohol users to prepare for employment through in-work placements and formal learning.

Scottish Drugs Forum works in partnership with accredited learning providers, such as GCVS’s SVQ Centre, and alongside Drug and Alcohol Services throughout Glasgow to provide the training for the students, who include former homeless people and ex-offenders who have previously experienced multiple barriers to employment.

Completion Ceremony

At this year’s Trainees’ Completion Ceremony in March, the work of the SVQ Centre and in particular the quality and “warmth” of the Assessors was acknowledged, with Ruth Farquharson, SVQ Centre Manager being presented with a beautiful bouquet of flowers (accepted on her behalf by Carrie Shearer, SVQ Administrator) by Suzanne Davidson from Scottish Drugs Forum and Alison Thewliss MP for Glasgow Central. Alison noted the “significant impact” of this “life-changing” project.

Susanne Millar, Chair of the Glasgow Alcohol & Drug Partnership also extended her personal and professional support.

It can be difficult to remember why you get up in the morning and do the job you do – things like the Completion Ceremony help remind you why.

Susan Millar 

Since 2004, over 200 people have taken part in the project, which provides qualifications as well as experience through work placements, with 90% of participants successfully completing the course and over 85% securing employment on completion.

From left to right, smiling and posing for a photo, Carrie Shearer from GCVS, Suzanne Davidson from Scottish Drugs Forum and Alison Thewliss MP with bouquet

L-R Carrie Shearer from GCVS, Suzanne Davidson from SDF and Alison Thewliss MP


The AWTP has won two major awards in a prestigious Scottish newspaper social care awards scheme, winning the Best Practice Initiative of the Year and being commended in the Education Initiative of the Year category of the inaugural Herald Society Awards in 2008.

In 2013, AWTP was a finalist in the Investigating in the Workforce category of the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) Care Awards.

The Future

It is hoped the project will continue to grow from strength to strength, supported by various partners across both Glasgow and Scotland, like GCVS, who help make it possible to empower individuals through learning and development.