Ex-drug users become mentors to help jobless addicts into work

Mentors who have beaten drug or alcohol addiction will be placed in Jobcentres across the country to help others with dependencies get back into work.

The Department for Work and Pensions will spend £3.7million on a scheme being trialled in 40 Jobcentres in England this month as part of efforts to grow the economy.

Hull, Portsmouth, Lambeth and Halton are some of the areas benefiting from the initiative.

Mims Davies, Minister for Social Mobility, Youth and Progression, said: “Our mentors are proof that work can be a crucial part of someone’s journey out of substance dependency, transforming their life.

“Their experience will help them provide expert one-to-one advice and support from the DWP in our Jobcentres, helping people recovering from addiction move into work.

“It will also help grow our economy by getting more people back into the workforce.”

The hope is that the mentors will help people feel comfortable disclosing their dependency issues “without fear of reprisal”.

The jobseekers will then be supported to manage their addiction and eventually equip them with the necessary skills to access education, training, volunteering, and employment.

Mentor Declan’s journey back into work helped him overcome 20 years of substance dependency.

He said: “Having a close friend pass away because of an overdose was the beginning of my journey out of substance dependency.

“In my new role as peer mentor, I’m looking forward to helping people who are going through the same sort of issues I had and starting them on their journey to recovery.”

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