Have you heard of STUC? The Stammering through University Campaign? It's the brainchild of Claire Norman, a young graduate who stammers, and who went through her course realising that there's a big hole at her University where stammering awareness and support ought to be. So she secured a grant to start her own social enterprise to ensure that everyone at Britain's Universities is clued up about stammering and able to get support. That's "everyone" as in students, lecturers, non-academic staff, cleaners, caterers, you name it. She's already got Warwick and Newcastle Universities signed up, held her first Focus group, and is developing the first Action Plan. All of that on top of finishing her degree, finding work, moving house and starting her new job on Monday!
The Employers Stammering Network has as its ultimate goal to change the world of employment for people who stammer - better support, less prejudice and equal chances. ESN and STUC seemed like a perfect fit to learn more about each other - University leads (hopefully) to employment, and as STUC is also concerned about people employed by the Universities there are areas where we may well overlap. Young people who stammer can find it particularly difficult to secure their first job - and if we can point them to employers who are clued up about stammering and have recruitment policies in place it's a win-win for the students but also for the employers who have access to a pool of talented people. So we had a meeting kindly hosted at EY (formerly Ernst and Young) between Iain Wilkie (Co-Chair, ESN), Ricky Vachhani (Co-Chair, EY Stammering Network), myself and Claire to get to know each other a bit better and see where we can support each other.
STUC is such an excellent model because it's run by Claire who can draw on BSA and ESN support and expertise when required - but it is separate of the BSA. It's that 'get up and go', 'let's do something about this' spirit which demonstrates that people who stammer can easily excel in roles that demand leadership. It's also an excellent demonstration of how BSA, with its limited resources, can act as a catalyst and support to help get initiatives like STUC off the ground.