On Sunday, the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with Project SEARCH celebrated the graduation of six young adults from Reading College and two students from Brookfield’s Special Educational Needs (SEN) School, who successfully completed their year of supported employment internship at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.
Throughout the year, each student 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 multitude of work placements available to the students including legal services, elderly care, catering, A+E and paediatrics to name a few.
Project SEARCH is a unique collaboration which supports young people with learning disabilities as they transition from education into the world of paid employment. The programme sees the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust; 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.
The project, now in its sixth year at the Trust has employed 20 project SEARCH graduates who work in a variety of full and part time roles across a number of departments including the mattress library, endoscopy, medical records and portering services. Additionally, seven graduates have secured paid roles within their local communities with employers outside the NHS.
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 2018. Project SEARCH students are a hugely important part of our staff community and it’s great to be able to offer training, development and future employment opportunities for young people with learning disabilities in Berkshire. We’ve shown over the years that Project SEARCH really can make a difference to young people’s lives. Massive congratulations to all the graduates and I look forward to working with some of them, as they begin their future careers with us”