Steven Stone and Bryony Spink
Project SEARCH placements helping interns find work
Young people with additional support needs in the Falkirk area, who are on the hunt to find a job with the help of Project SEARCH – have begun their work placements at Forth Valley College.
The one-year internship programme – a partnership between Forth Valley College, Falkirk Council Employment and Training Unit, SERCO, NHS Forth Valley and Skills Development Scotland - supports young people with learning difficulties to gain skills and experience aimed at helping them move into sustainable employment.
The programme has been based at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert for the last two years, where learning and placements take place. But since August 2020, on account of Covid-19 limitations, the current Project SEARCH interns have been based at Forth Valley College’s Falkirk Campus.
And it is also here that the eight young interns aged 18-24, have been experiencing work placements across a range of job areas, all based within the college, from Monday to Friday 9am-4pm.
The departments involved include: Business (administration duties), Estates (various cleaning and process duties) and Construction (preparing, cleaning and maintaining equipment for use) – while Servest, FVC’s facilities partner organisation have also taken on interns too - and it is hoped many other college areas will offer placement opportunities for the interns in the future. To date, interns have also completed health and safety, food hygiene, infection control and manual handling certificates.
On-site, interns – Bryony Spink (19), Steven Stone (21), Emily Bellingham (18), Hugh Carter (18), Rachel Verhees (20), Josh Hoskin-Winman (18), Shannon Hannah (18) and Dylan Neill (18) - are assisted throughout by college lecturer Alan Ritchie, and FVC job coach Jean Allan, as well as other College staff and supervisors.
The programme helps interns to learn real job skills that will prepare them for work by rotating them through a variety of different work placement experiences. This work-based learning is then supported by classroom activities each day, as well as regular discussion and feedback from supervisors throughout the programme.
Alan Ritchie, Lecturer in FVC’s Business and Communities Department, said: “We are currently just finishing our first placement phase, with interns having learned a wide range of transferable skills so far. Their confidence is really growing now and they are gaining knowledge and experience which will be invaluable for them. This course is literally making learning work!
“Already you can see the interns flourishing and from the feedback we are getting from the College departments, those on placement are doing a great job in their allotted roles. We would encourage more departments get involved and see how our Project SEARCH interns could become an asset to their sector area and themselves in the process.”
Anyone wishing to find out more on the course which is scheduled to start again in 2021 should contact FVC on 01324 403000.