Students learn about careers with addiction risks

25th October 2017 6:16pm - Return to press releases

Students learn about careers with addiction risks

Many students may not be aware that they are entering industries which have a higher risk of addiction. Students from the hospitality, sport and public services curriculum areas were invited to hear Andrew talk, as their chosen careers are amongst those that can lead to higher rates of addiction.  Cultural behaviours and stress factors linked to some jobs are thought to increase the risks of addictive behaviours, alongside the nature of how individuals behave to deal with stress. 

The seminars hope to raise awareness amongst the students that they are entering a higher risk industry, to break down stigma and expose stereotypes of what we think addiction is.  Andrew, who has experience from various industries explained:

“I got the students to think about what an addict is.  I myself had a stereotypical view of what an addict was when I was younger. I didn’t think a binge drinker like me, who could go for periods of time without a drink could be an alcoholic.  I didn’t believe that the recreational drugs I took warranted me to be described as an addict either.  I tell them my story, how my addiction was progressive and that the problems were never flagged up early on.  I do this to try and break the stigma of what we think about addicts and addiction.”

Andrew works with Hospitality Action, a charity that helps people in the hospitality industry and addresses the industry’s problem with addiction.  The College opened up the talk to other higher risk areas because of Andrew’s work with professional sports people and the professional footballers union.  He was a professional football player for 8 years and his career was affected by addiction.  Andrew eventually entered rehab after the end of his football career before going back into education and entering academia.  He said:

 “The industry doesn’t matter in a lot of ways, the culture is often the same.  The seminar explores the relationship that we have with substances and the fact that it has the potential to destroy our lives and those of the people around us.  It may be obvious to some people, and quite a simple message, but it’s also quite profound.  Being aware of how we handle stress and the ways we choose to deal with various pressures is important.  Something could be working for us initially, but addiction can be progressive.  It’s about identifying that some people can seem to get away with using alcohol or drugs, but for others it starts a cycle of destruction.  It’s such a sensitive issue, but I think it’s really important to be aware of these issues up front, as people go out into the adult world.”

Chloe Stuart, aged 16 from Bridlington, who studies culinary skills said, “He’s a brave man for telling his story about his past as an addict.  It shows people that things can get better however bad and low you get.”

Byron Rawlins, also studying culinary skills and aged 16 from Bridlington said, “It was very interesting and intriguing to listen to, and an inspiring story to share.”