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Project SEARCH placements helping students 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 Royal Hospital.
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.
Based at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert, the first group of 11 young interns aged between 18-24, began their course on Monday 27 August. They will experience work placements across a range of job areas, all based within the hospital, from Monday to Friday 9am-4pm. These include: housekeeping; domestic wards; catering, stores, portering and mail room. The interns have also completed food hygiene and manual handling certificates.
On-site, interns will be assisted throughout by a college lecturer and a job coach – FVC’s Jean Allan who is pictured with two students on placement - as well as hospital 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.
Erin Swinton (21), from Camelon who is currently on a housekeeping placement in a ward for older people, was very quiet before she started the course, but it has done wonders for her confidence. She said: “I have been really enjoying my placement and it is great talking to the patients. I would recommend the course to other people as it could help lead you to a job. I have learned to keep more eye contact with people when talking to them and my confidence has certainly grown.”
Lewis McPhail (20), from Laurieston, who is currently on placement in the stores in the hospital’s basement, said: “This course has kept me to a good routine and the placement I am currently on is really good. I would recommend it as is keeps you active and you could get a job at the end of it. My number skills have improved and I have learned how to improve my CV and my interview techniques.”
Alan Ritchie, Lecturer in FVC’s Business and Communities Department, said: “We are currently just started our second placement phase and the interns are now choosing their placements on what they think they would want to do, learning transferable skills. 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!”
Funding has been secured for Project SEARCH for two years and anyone wishing to find out more on the course which will start again in 2019 should contact FVC on 01324 403000.