Eight young people with a learning difficulty or disability have recently graduated from Project SEARCH, a supported internship programme designed to give young people skills to gain competitive paid employment.
The graduates were presented with their certificates by ESHT Chief Executive, Dr Adrian Bull and Eastbourne Deputy, Mayor Cllr Kathy Ballard.
Parents and staff from this joint partnership between the host employer, East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, Sussex Downs College and East Sussex County Council, were present at the graduation.
Dr Adrian Bull, ESHT Chief Executive said: “I would like to congratulate all the participants on their graduation. Their hard work in various departments of the Trust has contributed to patient care, and has been recognised by many members of staff. I would like to thank colleagues who have helped to mentor these young people and have developed their own skills in doing so. I am proud that the Trust is the host employer for this project. Project SEARCH is a scheme that I would encourage other employers to get involved with – it is an inspiring success story.”
Stacey Beard, Project SEARCH co-ordinator, added, “a special thank you to everyone who attended to celebrate Project SEARCH’s fourth graduation. It was a fantastic evening full of tears of joy and celebration. Our graduates were awarded certificates for various employment skills that they have gained while on the project. We also recognised key NHS staff members, who have effortlessly taken young adults under their wing over the past nine months. We wish all those graduating a successful future.”
Whilst working in the hospital, the students worked in a range of non-clinical areas including placements in the restaurant, post room, maintenance, housekeeping, laundry, decontamination and in administrative functions in Outpatient reception, Audiology and Patient Experience.