Project Search offers a chance to work to young adults with a Learning Difficulty or Disability
Project SEARCH is providing 9 young people the opportunity to access a range of internships with the East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust. Throughout the year the interns whose age ranges from 18 to 24 years old will work in non-clinical areas of the hospital. They will undertake placements in Pathology and Main Stores, Post room, Laundry and Buffer, Decontamination and in administrative functions across the hospital, Pathology, Equipment Library, Infection Control, and Portering, with more placements to follow over the coming year.
Project SEARCH is a joint partnership between Sussex Downs College, the host employer East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust and East Sussex County Council and supported employment service ChoicES. It has a clear goal to give young people the skills to gain competitive paid employment rather than the typical volunteering roles often associated with adults with learning difficulties or disabilities. Last year 11 interns graduated from Project SEARCH in East Sussex with 8 graduates having found sustainable employment to date.
Richard Sunley Acting Chief Executive said: “I am very proud that we are a host employer for this project. I know from our experiences last year it will help to change the way people think, as it will challenge ideas about what people with a learning disability can do. It will help to raise expectations of employability and the general public will see people with a learning disability hard at work as part of everyday life. I know the previous chief executive Darren Grayson was extremely supportive of this project and its success in the interns achieving full time paid employment.”
Penny Morgan, Programme Co-ordinator said: “The aim is for the interns to gain the skills and confidence to progress into employment. Many of our students have the skills an employer is looking for and will prove to be very hard working, punctual, good employees. They just need the opportunity and support to find employers who’ll give them the chance to prove they can make a valuable contribution in the work place. We are hoping to find local employers who are recruiting and who would consider following the lead of the Trust.”
The 9 interns, follow an induction programme including health and safety and the everyday issues faced in a workplace environment, will complete 3 ten week rotations in different departments over the academic year to gain a range of skills and help them to decide the type of work they’d like to pursue.