Education, training and employment support is a priority for most effective services as part of a whole person approach to enabling people to start and maintain the process of recovery from substance misuse or dependency. Employment is central to the concept of recovery capital, not just through providing an income, a structured life and greater independence, but also through more indirect benefits such as improved self-esteem and new, positive social networks.
This research had a particular focus on pathways into paid employment. This is not to underestimate the value of voluntary work for recovery or the important contribution of volunteers, but it is important to recognise that for many service users the ultimate goal is a paid job, further building self-esteem and providing for financial independence. Part of the London Drug and Alcohol Network Pathways to Employment project was to learn more about the experiences, expectations and attitudes of people recovering from drug or alcohol dependency, as well as some of the barriers they may face. This included gaining the views of employers – in this instance, primarily the views of employers who already have some experience of knowingly recruiting and retaining staff with known histories of drug or alcohol problems.
The report is primarily based on a series of surveys and interviews conducted with people currently in treatment for drug and alcohol use, people who have recently left treatment, and employers. 155 individuals participated in an online survey; 18 individuals participated in structured group interviews; and 69 employers participated in an online survey.