Nine interns from the supported internship programme, Project SEARCH, became proud graduates yesterday after receiving their diplomas at a ceremony in front of parents, relatives, colleagues and friends.
Project SEARCH is a partnership between University Hospitals Plymouth, Pluss, Serco and City College Plymouth, who work together to create employment opportunities for young adults living in Plymouth who have learning disabilities. The programme involves nine months of an intensive work based internship aimed at developing and learning new work skills with the aim of gaining paid employment.
The ceremony was held at the Derriford Centre for Health and Wellbeing, where the students and their guests heard about the various internships the group had undertaken, their experiences and the skills and confidence they acquired from their time working within the hospital.
Richard Crompton, Chairman of University Hospitals Plymouth, presented graduates with their diplomas at the ceremony.
“This is an absolutely fabulous achievement for our interns,” said Richard. “I want to say thank you to Pip and the team, the partners, the Trust staff who offered work placements and the families who have made project SEARCH possible.
Most importantly, I would like to thank the nine interns who have brought so much joy and enthusiasm to the Trust. For everything we’ve given to this year’s interns, they’ve given back far more.”
Project SEARCH intern, Taryn Cliff, was delighted to gain paid employment with Serco as a general porter following his internship with them.
“I’m pleased that I’ve been able to get paid work, it's been what I've been working towards whilst on Project SEARCH,” said Taryn. “It gives me the chance to earn my own money, and further develop my skills that I learnt by doing my internships.”
Dylan Walsh also gained paid employment with the Trust as an Administration Apprentice through Project SEARCH.
“Knowing I had got a paid job was the best feeling ever,” said Dylan. “Knowing how far I have come since starting Project SEARCH; it gives me the feeling that I am a proper adult now having my own money to spend.”
Pluss Employment Advisor, Pip Critten said: “The staff and mentors in Serco and Theatres have, as always, been fantastic in supporting and developing the interns.
“We are also so grateful for the support we get from staff at Jobcentre Plus and Access to Work which enables the interns to fulfil their dreams of paid employment.
“Each of the interns have been on an incredible journey putting in an immense amount of effort to prove that they will make ideal employees with all the ethics that employers are looking for.”
Since Project SEARCH started, more than 80 interns have gained paid employment working within Derriford Hospital and with its sub-contractors, including three of this year’s interns.