Project SEARCH

Project SEARCH is a supported internship programme for young people with disabilities and learning difficulties. It is established around the world and has over 300 sites internationally. In 2018, Newfriars College, in partnership with the UHNM Trust and Sodexo launched the first Project SEARCH site in Staffordshire, based at the Royal Stoke Hospital, with strong links both here, and at the UHNM sister site, at County Hospital in Stafford. Interns complete three separate work placements (usually one per term) in areas such as catering, portering, administration, customer service, gardening and ward support. Students are supported by two full time members of staff, who are on hand to job coach and prepare students for adulthood and independent living. Students follow a ‘Preparation for Adulthood’ curriculum, focusing on the key areas of-

• Employability

• Independent Living

• Community Inclusion

• Healthy Living

We are now in our third year and students from Newfriars College and also other educational establishments, have benefited from the project’s extensive range of work placements with some turning their experiences round into paid, meaningful employment.

To learn more about Project SEARCH and to see our work take a look at our autumn 2020 newsletter

Background to the Project

In 1990 a programme employing individuals with disabilities in hospitals and clinics within the Cincinnati metropolitan area in Ohio, USA was introduced. The programme was run in partnership with local education providers and resulted in permanent employment being achieved for over 70 individuals with disabilities. The project has since been replicated across 9 states in the USA and has now spread to Europe. There are now over 300 Project SEARCH sites worldwide, and Newfriars College is to be the first in Staffordshire.

Project SEARCH is a targeted programme of employment training and support for young people with learning disabilities. The model runs over an academic year and students work in three placements between September and June. They start and finish each day in their Project SEARCH classroom on site where they discuss what they have been doing that day, participate in skills training and carry out supported job searches with the support of their Job Coach.

By working in a number of placements over the course of the year, students are able to demonstrate skills and experience they can use when looking for paid work. Students are supported by their Job Coaches in either finding similar work on site with the host employer or with other employers. Current NHS Trusts that have regular cohorts of Project SEARCH students that have gone on to achieve full time employment include Bath, Nottingham, ST Georges (London), Plymouth, Devon, Bradford and Wakefield.

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Project Search Newsletters:

May 2019 Autumn 2020