Written By: Siobhan Ryan 28/7/15
A group of young adults with learning difficulties has been developing the skills necessary to help them get a job by working for a hospital trust.
Eleven graduates have just completed the first Project Search course run by East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust in partnership with South Downs College.
The aim was to help build their confidence in a working environment and help them go on to get jobs in other businesses and companies in the area.
Lesley Frame, parent of intern Alex Frame, 21, from Eastbourne, said the programme had been fantastic for her daughter.
She said: “It has been amazing during this past year to watch Alex and the other interns go from strength to strength.
“The development of their self-confidence and self-esteem has been a joy to watch.
“Alex now feels confident enough to apply for jobs and tackle interviews – something I don’t believe would have been possible without the benefit of the time she has spent on Project Search.”
The scheme is also supported by East Sussex County Council and supported employment service Choices.
During their studies students worked in a range of non-clinical areas throughout the trust, including placements in pathology, the post-room, catering, laundry and administration.
At the time of their graduation, half the students had a job while the rest were either due to have interviews or waiting to hear back if their application was successful.
Trust chairman Stuart Welling said: “I would like to congratulate all the interns graduating.
“They have been with us over the past year and in that time their hard work around the hospital has been recognised by many of our staff.
“They have helped change the way people think and challenged ideas about what people with a learning disability can do.
“I am pleased so many students are finding employment or are hopeful of employment.
“The project has been a great success and we are happy to participate in it again in the next academic year.”
South Downs College vice principal Wayne Wright thanked all those who had been involved.
He said: “The partners have all had to take risks in ensuring that the project was a success. There has also been an enormous goodwill that has been received from the wider community, especially businesses.
“I’m very proud of our students who are trailblazers in terms of this type of provision and know that they have all enjoyed this experience.”