Second Project SEARCH cohort graduate

Second Project SEARCH cohort graduate
Project SEARCH Graduates

A second group of young people with additional support needs in the Falkirk area who are on the hunt to find a job with the help of DFN Project SEARCH – have graduated from their one year internship programme at Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

The DFN Charitable Foundation, is a UK registered charity established in 2014 by David Forbes Nixon, with the express aim of promoting programmes such as this partnership between Forth Valley College, Falkirk Council Employment and Training Unit, Serco, NHS Forth Valley and Skills Development Scotland – DFN Project SEARCH 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 2018 and a total of 10 graduated on Monday 10 June 2019 – indeed at their recent annual awards the Forth Valley Royal Hospital Project SEARCH initiative won a prize and was recognised for its outstanding programme outcomes, supporting even more young adults with learning disabilities into the world of work.

And there was more good news as it has been revealed that most of the interns, in the second group, have secured full-time jobs after completing their course.

Throughout their year the interns have had experience in work placements across a range of job areas, all based within the hospital, from Monday to Friday 9am-4pm. These included: housekeeping; domestic wards; catering, stores, portering and mail room. The interns have also completed a selection of industry standard certificates.

On-site, interns were assisted throughout by a college lecturer and a job coach – Alan Ritchie and Jean Allan - 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, practical, work-based learning was supported by classroom activities each day, as well as regular discussion and feedback from supervisors throughout the programme.

One of the graduates, Hazel Griffiths (21) from Carronshore has landed a job as a catering assistant with Serco. She said: “I found the course to be very insightful into the world of work and it taught me a lot about transferrable skills. It was also great to meet a lot of new people who have become my friends.

“I’m really enjoying my new job as a catering assistant with Serco and I would absolutely recommend Project SEARCH to anybody.”

Helen Smith (21) from Stenhousemuir, has also secured a role two days a week working in the Forth Valley Royal Hospital basement kitchens, again with Serco. She added: “I thought the course was good and I liked it all. At the beginning of the placement I was nervous, but found it to be a good experience. I would also recommend the course as it gives you a great experience of what working is like and you see what goes on in the workplace.”

Jacqueline McArthur, Director of Curriculum for the Department of Business and Communities, said: “We are delighted to see this second cohort of Project SEARCH interns complete their year at Forth Valley Royal Hospital and graduate from the programme. They have been a credit to themselves, the college, the hospital and all the partners who are represented at this event, and we wish them well as they progress towards finding employment armed with skills and experience gained from Project SEARCH.

“The recognition from the DFN awards is also very well deserved indeed. It’s fantastic to see how education programmes and initiatives such as the dynamic David Forbes Nixon (DFN) Project SEARCH partnership supports young people to gain skills and experience aimed at helping them move into sustainable employment and set them on the right path for future success.

“And that’s what Project SEARCH is all about – making a positive impact on young people’s lives and helping them achieve their full potential to express themselves in a work based setting. Thank you to everyone who has been involved in the success of Project SEARCH and for driving it forward – especially Alan Ritchie and Jean Allan from Forth Valley College and all our wonderful partners.”

Anyone wishing to find out more on the course which will start again in August 2021 should contact FVC on 01324 403000.