With a new National 10 year Drug (and Alcohol) Strategy published, this is an exciting time to work in the field. Not only are significant new career opportunities being created but it is a chance to be a part of defining the sector for the next generation.
Here we introduce Dave as he takes on a new role as trainer in Generis
Dave Whitehead, Drug And Alcohol Trainer
After 28 years working on the front line of drug and alcohol support services, Dave Whitehead has joined the training team here at Generis.
Working with a variety of organisations from teachers and local authority to businesses and the industrial sector, Dave will share his vast knowledge and experience in the delivery of drug and alcohol awareness training to UK workforces.
Starting out in 1994, Dave joined the health authority in Doncaster within the planning department and enjoyed developing his range of skills across the various departments that included, public health, commissioning and health promotion, where he worked with families to promote healthy lifestyles, oral hygiene, drugs and alcohol awareness and various promotional sporting events. He spent a number of years working within the Drug Action Team where he became responsible for the commissioning of drug services in Doncaster, helping to secure funds and develop services. Prior to this, Dave had worked in Wales, looking to integrate children's services from 3 localities into one, which included services delivered in Swansea and Port Talbot.
In 2005, Dave left Doncaster to continue his work with young people and families residing in North Yorkshire and East Riding as a residential and edge of care worker, having spent 8 years at the local authority care home environment. He then returned ‘home’ to Doncaster to continue his passion and love of working with families who were struggling with alcohol and/or drug use.
For some of his career, Dave was an IT tutor, working with adults who’d suffered severe head injuries and young people with Down’s Syndrome. Here he developed a new set of skills which transferred into his front line work.
Laura Jarvis, Chartered Manager of Generis says: “This rounded knowledge makes Dave an excellent advocate for the recovery field and one of the best trainers we could have employed within our growing training team.
“As well as training people from other organisations, Dave will be working with staff at The Alcohol and Drug Service, Aspire New Beginnings in Doncaster and the East Riding Partnership.”
Dave explains: “At Generis, I will be training both internal ADS colleagues as well as primary care, secondary care and local authority teams around the misuse of drugs and alcohol, the effects this has in the workplace and how it affects other people that staff come into contact with.
“Substance misuse is so interesting and working alongside my colleagues, gaining insights into people’s lives is what I enjoy the most. Knowing what people have been through is so humbling. My experience gives a much deeper understanding, which I can utilise in the training that we deliver.”
The benefit of drug and alcohol awareness training in the workforce
“Substance misuse is a growing issue within the workplace. Training is vital to support colleagues when they interact with people whose lives have been affected by drugs and alcohol. There are so many factors to take into account which can lead a person to substance misuse. Therefore, so much to learn and understand. An informed and highly skilled workforce that is approachable and able to make good connections will have a more positive impact overall.
“Employers are often unaware of what they can do to help their people who have a problem with alcohol and/or drugs. If these employees lose their jobs, that causes a whole variety of issues within their personal lives, plus the company loses a member of the team as well as their investment in that person and it can also affect productivity.”
How does your experience benefit you as a trainer?
“It’s vitally important to have the front line experience when delivering training. I can paint a realistic picture of what it looks like to help others identify problems amongst their colleagues. If a member of staff is using drugs or alcohol they are likely to display poor performance and can cause accidents as a result of their impairment. Generis aims to support a business and their people, by spotting the early warning signs, to prevent the situation from getting any worse.”
What are you looking forward to in your new role?
“Getting stuck in and delivering the training and meeting people in organisations who’ve never explored this area.
“Also the variety which comes from the different environments I will be working in, from local authority to industrial companies and everything in between.”
How has the recovery field changed during your career?
“Throughout my career, there is evidence which shows the number of people with alcohol problems has increased. In recent times the pandemic has compounded this issue and the demand for services is much greater.
“Thankfully funding is coming into the system for recovery services. Over the next year, extra funding will be received by all local councils in England to help them improve their drug and alcohol treatment and recovery systems. There is optimism amongst support staff and recruitment and people development is at the forefront as services expand.”
To find out more about Generis click here
To check for the exciting career opportunities available with ADS click here