The fourth cohort of Project SEARCH interns have graduated at a ceremony at the Taw Restaurant at Petroc College. The event was a time to celebrate the journey the young interns have been on over the last year whilst on Project SEARCH.
Project SEARCH is a joint project between Petroc, Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust and Pluss, and is based at North Devon District Hospital (NDDH). The innovative project aims to support young people with a learning disability or autism into the world of work.
Gail Richards, training manager and apprentice lead at NDHT, said “I was delighted to host our 4th year graduation of Project SEARCH interns. Our project each year goes from strength to strength and I would like to congratulate the students on their success and wish them all the very best for the future.”
Over the past year the interns have undertaken three ten-week placements across a wide range of departments in the hospital, including optometry, radiology, catering, housekeeping, medical records, IT, recycling and a variety of admin positions. The interns have received employability training provided onsite at NDDH by the Project SEARCH team.
Once again the project has had outstanding results, with 100% of the interns who are able to do so progressing directly onto paid work of 16 hrs per week or more.
Dave Bridges, Project SEARCH instructor, said: “The interns have worked incredibly hard throughout the year and have now seen the fruits of their labour rewarded with paying work, they have been a pleasure to work with.”
Project SEARCH intern Harry Featherstone, who gave a presentation at the event, said: “Project SEARCH has really seriously saved my life – I am now working in the hospital kitchen and I’m loving it.”