Project SEARCH students at Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust complete their first ‘working week’

Project SEARCH is a supported employment programme to help young people with a learning disability or autism get into the job market. In the past eight years, Project SEARCH Barnstaple has successfully supported 78% of its interns into long term employment.

Andrew Angell outside the ED department

Andrew Angell completes his shift at the ED of North Devon District Hospital


This year, interns on Project Search have reduced hours due to COVID-19. However, since September the students have been in placement at NDHT Monday to Friday combining this with on-site training. The students are working in a wide variety of placements including Sodexo housekeeping roles, microbiology, A&E, Optometry and working on the ward supporting the nursing teams.

Pictured is Andrew Angell finishing his first full shift in the emergency department at 8pm. Andrew reported that he felt tired but had really enjoyed doing the full shift.

Gail Richards Training Manager & Apprentice Lead for Northern Devon Healthcare Trust said: “I am so proud and honoured to work for this Trust who see our Project Search students as a real benefit to our organisation.  Despite COVID-19 we have still managed to recruit and offer valued work experience placements.  This shows true commitment from our managers and supervisors who support the students during their programme.

“This pandemic has affected employment rates across the UK, so these types of programmes are essential to support our young workforce”.

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Last updated: December 8, 2020