Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the North
1:10 PM 19th September 2018

Young People With Learning Difficulties Discover Skills For Life

Project SEARCH interns
Project SEARCH interns
Project SEARCH is a partnership between the Trust, Southfield Special School, Little Horton, HFT and Bradford Council, and this is the sixth year the Trust has provided placements.

Nine Project SEARCH interns, aged between 18 and 24, are settling into life at Bradford Teaching Hospitals where they will gain valuable work experience in various roles over the next nine months.

Head of Equality and Diversity and Project SEARCH Business Liaison, Lorraine Cameron, said: “All our interns will get the chance to work in a variety of jobs at the hospital – jobs which will give them a real taste of working life and will also equip them with the skills to go on to permanent employment.

“The employment rate for people with learning difficulties is less than six per cent but Project SEARCH has a 76 per cent employment rate – to date 33 of our graduates have found paid employment – 11 at the hospital and the rest with local employers across Bradford.

“This success rate really empowers our interns and they really enjoy getting that invaluable work experience here at our hospitals as it is vital for their CVs when they go out and seek employment at the end of our course.”

The latest group of young people will initially be based at the BRI and will go on to experience working in a variety of roles throughout the hospitals, including cleaning services, ward hospitality, administration, receipt and distribution, portering and pharmacy.

Project SEARCH Co-ordinator, Bryony Dolby, said: “Getting a job is difficult at the best of times but when you have learning difficulties it makes it even harder.

“Project SEARCH bridges the gap between school and employment for these young people and equips them with real-life skills that can help them secure permanent employment after they have graduated from the project.

“The support we get from both the Trust and parents is invaluable. The new students are really rising to the challenge and can’t wait to get out into our hospitals and their new jobs as their induction period is nearly over. You can see their confidence growing day by day.”

Jack Wilson-Smith, 19, who like many of the interns was born at the BRI, said: “I wanted to get work experience with Project SEARCH and try out different roles, to find out which job is best suited for me. I can’t wait to start my first rotation. I am very excited at the prospect.”

Talkative Yusaf Mahmood, 20, has already pinned his dreams on becoming a receptionist.

“I am interested in a lot of jobs here at the hospital,” Yusaf added. “I am going to be learning lots from Project SEARCH and hopefully, at the end of it, I will procure employment as it will have given me the skills so I can put these on my resume. I would very much like to work as a receptionist.”

Dominik Wolochowski, 20, who was born in Poland but who has lived in Bradford for 12 years, said: “I wasn’t nervous about starting work here at the hospital. I am looking forward to doing different jobs and am keeping my mind open.”