Project SEARCH Derriford wins another top award

05 December 2017 | Learning Difficulties & Disabilities

A supported employment Internship programme, based at Derriford Hospital, which assists young adults with learning disabilities to gain paid employment, has won another award to add to its collection.

The award recognised the achievement of 72% of Project SEARCH graduate interns gaining full-time paid employment during the academic year.

The Project, now in its eighth year, is a partnership between City College Plymouth, Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Pluss and Serco who have come together to provide interns with developmental difficulties a pathway into paid employment.

The interns work within Derriford Hospital five days a week, for an academic year, whilst completing a Level 1 Diploma in Employability and gaining work skills within a wide range of departments.

On presenting the award Anne O’Bryan, Project SEARCH Programme Specialist for Europe, said: “The Derriford Hospital Project SEARCH is one of our longest established and most successful sites in the UK and have enabled over 40 young people with learning disabilities to gain full-time, mainstream paid employment.

“They are true to our principles and have shown that by providing the right support people with learning disabilities can be excellent workers and an asset to any organisation.”

City College Plymouth Skills Development Lecturer, Michelle Petrie, who collected the award, commented: “I’m very proud of all the students who have been on Project SEARCH, they are so dedicated and committed.

“We look forward to continuing the project and supporting many more to reach the employment goals, it’s fantastic working with such a lovely team.”

Internships within the hospital are co-ordinated by Pluss Employment Advisor, Pip Critten, who added: “One of the keys to our success is the way each partner is fully on board with the ethos of the programme and will ensure that, where needed, processes can be reasonably adjusted to allow the interns to shine and achieve at the highest level.

“Being part of Project SEARCH is a huge privilege and humbling experience. Supporting these young adults to achieve and develop beyond their dreams is immensely rewarding.”

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