Twelve 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 interns were presented with certificates at the graduation ceremony by ESHT Chief Executive, Dr Adrian Bull. Parents and staff from this joint partnership between the host employers, East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, East Sussex College Group, East Sussex County Council and Southdown, were present at the graduation.
Dr Adrian Bull, Chief Executive ESHT said: “I would like to congratulate all those that graduated. 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 East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust is the host employer for this project and we are pleased this year some other local companies have got involved with work placements. Project SEARCH is an inspiring success and a scheme that I would encourage other employers to get involved with.”
Stacey Beard, Project SEARCH co-ordinator, added: “This graduation marks the successful completion of our fifth year of Project SEARCH. A special thank you to all those who attended this celebration. 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 and local employers 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 throughout the hospital as well as working with some local companies including Marks and Spencer, Brewers and local care and residential homes.