Successful Project Search students were recognised at a Celebration of Achievement event, held at Motherwell Theatre and Concert Hall, following completion of the ‘Project Search Lanarkshire’ course.
Project Search is a supported internship programme hosted by employers and is designed to help young people work towards finding a job and develop their employability skills. The programme gives students the opportunity to experience what it’s like being at work, teaches them new skills, and helps them understand the demands of the working world. Students work five-days-a-week at the employer’s premises, combining practical learning with classroom sessions.
Twenty two students from the class of 2015 completed the programme which improves the chances of young people with learning difficulties finding work. Family, friends, lecturers and job coaches, who supported students in various ways throughout the programme, gathered together to be part of the event.
The Project Search concept works because of the existing strong partnership arrangements in place: the three employers, NHS Lanarkshire, Serco and ISS Facilities Management; education partner – New College Lanarkshire and supported employment providers – both North and South Lanarkshire Councils. With 60% of students completing the programme going on to find jobs – it’s changing lives.
Chris Davis (26), from Motherwell, was a student on the first Project Search programme, which was established in Wishaw General Hospital in 2010. And, in another first for Chris, he was also the first to find a full time job as a domestic assistant with Serco in Wishaw General Hospital. Now, with four years of working life under his belt, Chris says having a job has been great for him. “I have something useful to do every day,” explained Chris. “I’ve made friends and earn the money I need to go to the football and out with my friends.”
Chris advises new students to Project Search how valuable the programme is in building the confidence and experience needed to believe you can find a job. Lewis Beresford (23) was keen to heed this advice when he started last year’s programme. Lewis, who lives in Wishaw, explained, “The placements really helped me to learn how to do the job and gave me the confidence to work with the patients.” Lewis’s hard work paid off in March this year, when, after a successful interview, he started a full time job as a porter with Serco in Wishaw General Hospital.
The three Lanarkshire Project Search programmes are based in Wishaw General, Monklands and Hairmyres Hospitals.
Martin McGuire, Principal of New College Lanarkshire, said: “New College Lanarkshire is delighted to be involved in such a positive and dynamic project. Working in partnership with colleagues to enable our students to develop the necessary skills to secure jobs is something we should all be proud of.”
John White, Deputy Director of HR, NHS Lanarkshire said: Project Search is an exemplar model of Partnership working for the benefit of Lanarkshire residents. The fact Search has now completed five successful years is evidence this approach works."