Seven interns have joined our Trust as part of DFN Project SEARCH, a transition into work programme for young adults aged 17-19 with a learning disability (LD) and/or autism.
The interns have celebrated the end of their induction and are now getting stuck into their new jobs across a range of departments at King George Hospital, including A&E, our elderly care wards and Outpatients department.
Intern Carly Gard, 18, who is working on Beech, an elderly care ward, said: “I’ve loved the induction and was really looking forward to working on the ward.
“I’ll be answering the phone and shadowing staff. I wanted to work on the elderly care ward as I help my mum look after my nan.”
Yahya Farah, 18, who is working with our Dementia and Delirium team, added: “I was really excited to get started. We’ve met a lot of people during our induction, and everyone has been really nice and helpful.”
Project SEARCH works as an internship in the last year of study to help young people into the workplace. It’s a hugely important project as on average, people with LDs have less than a five per cent chance of gaining paid employment.
As well as helping the interns into work, the project is also an innovative new way of helping to grow our own workforce of the future.
During their time with us, the interns will learn transferable skills, enhancing their career prospects. Increasing their chances of finding work brings a host of other benefits including financial independence, friendships and being able to live independently.
The interns are supported by a full-time teacher, as well as job coaches, managers and mentors.
We’re working in partnership with DFN Project SEARCH, Redbridge Council and ASTRUM Multi Academy Trust, which runs special schools locally.
Introducing this project builds on our efforts to provide employment opportunities for local vulnerable young people. We recently renewed our Charter Mark for People With Lived Experience silver award, recognising initiatives including our work experience programme for local youngsters with experience of care and/or involvement in crime.
Project SEARCH started out in Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in Ohio in 1996 and has been operating in the NHS for 12 years, including at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust. You can watch this video to see the positive impact it has had on young people and their families.