A team of seven interns are being put through their paces at Musgrove Park Hospital in their quest to find a full time job.
The interns are part of the internationally acclaimed Project SEARCH work experience scheme, which gives young people with learning disabilities a chance to develop skills so they can find paid employment in the future.
During their time at the hospital, they are completing three work placements each, supported by a job coach to learn skills in their work area. From IT services, facilities and kitchens to the pathology laboratory reception and the surgical admission lounge – the interns have been busy working across different areas of the hospital.
Martin Gadd, one of the interns, said: “I am really enjoying the course so far and I like the department I’m working in. “I like delivering the notes around the hospital and meeting new people too. In the base room I am working to complete the care certificate. I am looking forward to new challenges ahead of me.”
Another intern, Brandon McLachlan, added: “I enjoy Project SEARCH and I have been working in theatres. I have learnt that I am a good team player. I like the busy and friendly environment and the manager and team are great.”
Project SEARCH is funded by Somerset County Council, with Bridgwater and Taunton College providing a tutor, and a job coach from discovery.
Hayley Peters, executive director of patient care at Musgrove Park Hospital, said: “We were very proud to see the outstanding achievements of our Project SEARCH interns last year. They really brought such energy to their work at our hospital, and it’s great to see the positive benefits their internship has had on them. “I’m looking forward to welcoming the new group of interns, who will hopefully go on to reach their potential here at Musgrove.”
Somerset County Council’s (SCC) cabinet member for Adult Social Care, David Huxtable, said: “I’m delighted that SCC is supporting young people with learning disabilities, in acquiring vital skills, experience and confidence needed to move into the world of employment. “I wish this year’s new interns the best of luck and hope they enjoy their time at Musgrove Park Hospital.”
Kim Williams, one of the tutors from Bridgwater and Taunton College said: ‘It has been a real pleasure to see our interns complete the trust induction and essential learning as well as doing so well on their first rotation. They have grown in confidence and gained essential work skills working closely with their hospital mentor. In the base room the interns are working towards the Care Certificate, English/ Math and employability skills and are enthusiastically waiting to find out where their second rotation placement will be.”
Alexandra Sneddon, head of Supported Employment at discovery, said: “Project SEARCH has provided great results for the interns since its conception and the partnership between Discovery, Musgrove and Bridgwater & Taunton College has been essential to the young people learning the skills needed to be successful in the workplace and has made a real difference to their lives.
“It was great for the project at Musgrove to receive an award this year for achieving over 70% job success for their 2016 graduates.”