Stambition Mentoring Program

One-to-one career mentors for young people who stammer

Young people who stammer can grow up feeling that they have to limit their employment choices and ambitions due to ableist societal norms and expectations around communication. They – and their parents – ask what careers might be open to someone who stammers.

The answer to this is: Any career. People who stammer can choose, and flourish, in any career.

This is why we launched our Stambassadors scheme in 2018 – to connect successful people who stammer from the world of work with young people who stammer. So far over 50 videos have been filmed of the Stambassadors sharing their stories and these have had over 21,000 views. Young people who stammer have been able to see how the Stambassadors are building successful careers, and hear them talk frankly about the challenges – and the opportunities – of having a stammer in the workplace.

Building on this, we held a careers networking evening in July 2019 where young people who stammer were able to talk to a selection of Stambassadors about their career choices and their tips for success. Following this, both the young people and the Stambassadors asked that we provide opportunities for one-to-one career mentoring.

I was at the event last night and it was an amazing night. It taught me that people who stammer can do anything they want to do – no limits!

One-to-one mentoring for young people who stammer

In 2018, Iain Wilkie (one of our Stambassadors) and Sam Simpson successfully trialled a one-to-one mentoring project under the auspices of the Employers Stammering Network (part of the British Stammering Association). An independent evaluation found that all nine young adults who took part in this pilot scheme rated it as either extremely or very valuable, with gains in self-belief and an ambition to explore employment more aligned to their personal interests and goals. Iain and Sam have been working with us and the Stambassadors to create an excellent mentoring programme for ASC called ‘Stambition’.

This is a quote from Ben, who has been successfully supported by a mentor:

“To be mentored by an inspiring person who stammers was an empowering experience. He had faced many of the same obstacles that I was facing and his advice in navigating these was invaluable. Taking my mentors advice and applying it in my job opened up new opportunities and created an open dialogue between myself and my employer regarding stammering and how they could help me to succeed. While being encouraged to step out of my comfort zone, the emotional support from my mentor never wavered, allowing me to achieve things I did not think possible for me and my stammer”

Stambition Mentoring Program

The Stambition mentors, Sam and Iain and the ASC team at a zoom training session in Feb 2020

Action for Stammering Children have started a brand new mentoring project, called ‘Stambition’. The program is in the memory of Stan Taylor. Stan had a life long stammer and sadly passed away recently. We are very grateful to Stan and his family and have launched the mentoring project in memory of Stan, which his generous donation has now made possible. You can read more about Stan’s life here and his legacy donation.

The project provides practical tailored support and advice for young people, aged 18 – 25, who stammer at a crucial time of transition in their lives – leaving education, preparing for a career or having recently started work. It links young people who stammer with experienced Stambassadors, who draw on their own experiences to provide practical and applicable advice as well as encouragement to the young adults they are supporting. The programme’s messages to young people are:

  • You do not need to limit your horizons because you stammer.
  • Through having a stammer, you are likely to have developed strengths that can help you in your career.
  • Entering the world of work, you may face challenges that non-stammering people do not. These challenges will not be insurmountable. There is a supportive community of Stambassadors keen to support you.

*The program will last for 7 months and we welcome applications from across the UK.

**All mentors will be required to have a DBS check and will go through training to ensure they are prepared to give appropriate and relevant advice to the young adult they will be supporting.

Sam Simpson is a speech and language therapist with over 25 years experience of working with people who stammer and their families in the public, private, education and voluntary sectors. She is also a person-centred counsellor, supervisor and trainer working in independent practice. She co-edited the book Stammering Therapy from the Inside with Carolyn Cheasman and Rachel Everard in 2013, and co-edited Stammering Pride and Prejudice: Difference not Defect with Patrick Campbell and Chris Constantino in 2019. Sam brings many years’ experience of supervising multi-professionals working with children, young people and adults in a range of contexts. She teaches about supervision at undergraduate and post-qualification levels and co-wrote the 2017 Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) professional guidance on supervision.

Iain Wilkie is an experienced mentor and executive coach who stammers. Using experience gained from over 20 years as a partner and UK leadership team members in the professional services firm Ernst & Young (EY), he is committed to supporting all people who stutter to achieve their full potential in their work. Iain is the founder of the EY Stammering Network, the UK’s Employers Stammering Network and, in 2019, ‘50 Million Voices’ – a campaign bringing together employment leaders from around the world to transform opportunities at work for people who stammer.  Iain is also a Trustee of the Business Disability Forum. 

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