King’s Lynn hospital launches new work programme for disabled people

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After five years of success Project Search is calling for more applicants to come forward once again and discover the world of work.

The scheme is for people with learning difficulties and is a joint initiative between Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the College of West Anglia, Norfolk County Council and Remploy.

It aims to ‘bridge the gap to employment’ for young people with learning difficulties, giving them practical experiences in a number of the Trust’s departments as well as on-site additional support such as CV writing, interview techniques, and the ultimate goal of securing paid work.

Following last year’s great success, with six out of the eight students finding employment, this year Project SEARCH are calling on anyone who thinks the course might be for them to attend an open day and find out just how it could change their life.

Gareth Box is just one of Project SEARCH’s success stories.

Named Foundation Studies Student of the Year 2014 by the College of West Anglia, Gareth said he wouldn’t be the person he is today without the skills and confidence he gained with Project Search:

“I heard about Project Search through a family member initially. I was interested in what they were doing with the hospital so I decided to come along to an open day just to see if it might be for me.

“It was really good. It gave me the chance to see exactly what they had on offer and I met everyone I would potentially be working with. From the open day I felt comfortable about coming back for the interview.

“We came to the hospital to the Project SEARCH classroom and started with a few small activities so the team could work out what our individual skills were. Then I had my own interview. I heard that I’d been successful a few days later.

Gareth started his placement at the Trust in mandatory training and later tried his hand in the Workforce Information team.

With the support from the Project SEARCH team Gareth was able to put his new found skills and confidence form his placements into a professional CV and was encouraged to apply for suitable roles to meet his personal needs.

Having impressed the Mandatory Training team during his placement Gareth was offered an apprenticeship at the end of his course but went one further and successfully secured the role of assistant in Workforce Information where he still works today.

He said: “It’s worth coming to see what skills you have and what you could get out of the work involvement of this course. Project Search is a really good course, you get so much experience. When I first started I was quiet and not very ‘out there’ but now I’m much more confident and happy.

“The Queen Elizabeth Hospital is a friendly environment to work in. People are always willing to help you out if you are willing to yourself out there for them too.”

Kally Sagoo, course director on Project SEARCH, said: ”Project SEARCH can be a life-changing experience for all the students that come on the course. It gives them a sense of self achievement.”

The Project SEARCH open day event is on March 18, 6pm-8pm at the QEH. Past and current students and parents, carers and support workers will be at the open event to talk to guests about their experiences.

To book places at the open event please call 01553612328 or 07767463175. The closing date for applications is April 27 and interviews will take place on May 14.