In partnership with Project SEARCH, the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust celebrated the graduation of ten young adults with special educational needs who successfully completed their year-long supported internship at the Royal Berkshire Hospital. This year’s graduation was very kindly hosted by the team at Novotel Reading, who provided a great venue and wonderful refreshments to make it a day to remember for all involved. A big thank you to the General Manager, Anne Dubruille, and her amazing team, for all their help and support.
Throughout the year, the students worked across three different departments to acquire new skills, build on existing ones and become fully immersed within the teams they worked with. There were a number of work placements available to the students including A+E, care crew, elderly care, Marks and Spencer’s, Battle Day Unit, portering services and catering to name a few.
Project SEARCH is a unique partnership which supports young people with learning disabilities as they transition from education into the world of paid employment. The programme sees the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading College; Brookfield’s SEN school and Ways into Work CIC, working together to enhance and enable opportunities for young people with learning disabilities to move into work.
Now in its seventh year, the project has helped 27 project SEARCH graduates secure full and part- time paid roles at the Trust across a number of departments including the mattress library, endoscopy, catering and portering services. Additionally, nine graduates have secured paid roles within their local communities with employers outside the NHS.
At a recent catch up with Steve McManus the Trust CEO, the students shared: “They felt they had really grown in confidence, self-esteem and independence due to the opportunities they have been given and the fantastic support from their mentors and teams.
They added: “How welcome and included they felt within their teams not only during work time but also out of hours as they have been invited to join external social events such as Christmas parties, leaving do’s and celebratory nights out”.
Trust CEO Steve McManus said “It was a real privilege to be part of this year’s project SEARCH graduation and celebrate with the class of 2019! Project SEARCH students are a hugely important and integral part of our staff community. It’s great to be able to offer training, development and future employment opportunities for young people with learning disabilities from the local community we serve. The students shared with me how welcome and included they felt within their teams, not only during work time but also joining a range of team social events, which was lovely to hear. All of their experiences really demonstrate how valued the students are, and the inclusivity of the teams they worked with.
“Huge congratulations to this year’s graduates and I look forward to welcoming our three new graduates to the staff induction, and working with them, as they begin their future careers with us”.