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

Most young people who stammer grow up feeling that they have to limit their employment choices and ambitions. 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 challenged – 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 people who took part in this pilot scheme rated it as either extremely or very valuable, with to be either very or extremely valuable, with gains in confidence, greater openness about stammering in the workplace, and greater self-belief and ambition to explore employment more aligned to personal interests and goals. Given the affinity with our Stambassadors programme, Iain and Sam will work with us and the Stambassadors to develop their successful pilot into a full-scale project.

The ASC Stambassadors’ Mentoring Programme

Now Action for Stammering Children will be starting a brand new mentoring project. The program will be in the name of Stan Taylor. Stan had a life long stammer and sadly passed away recently. We are very much looking forward to launching our mentoring project, in memory of Stan, which his donation has now made possible. 

The project will provide practical tailored support and advice for young people who stammer at a crucial time of transition in their lives – leaving school and preparing for a career. It will link young people who stammer with Stambassadors, who will draw on their own experiences to provide practical and applicable advice as well as encouragement to their younger mentees. The programme’s messages to young people are:

  • You do not need to limit your horizons because you stammer.
  • Entering the world of work, you will probably have to face problems that non-stammering people don’t. These problems will not be insurmountable, and we are here if you need additional support.

Email [email protected] to request an application pack to apply as a mentor or mentee.

Sam Simpson is a speech and language therapist and person-centred counsellor. She works in independent practice and contributes to the development and delivery of the professional training programmes offered by the City Lit speech therapy team, intandem (a supervision, training and development partnership) and Metanoia Institute. Sam has over 20 years’ experience of supervising in a range of contexts, including the public, private, education and voluntary sectors. She teaches about supervision at undergraduate and post-qualification levels and co-wrote the 2017 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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