Project SEARCH is an international programme. It helps young people with learning disabilities to gain skills and experience to assist them in securing paid employment. DEBP are very happy to be involved in this programme in partnership with the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust, ISS, Horizons 6th Form at St Martins School, Royal School for the Deaf and Fountains High School.
In September 2019, nine Project SEARCH interns were welcomed to Royal Derby Hospital. The interns have enrolled on a full academic year programme. They will participate in three placements across catering, administration, receipt and distribution and pathology labs to name but a few. The interns are assigned a mentor from the Trust and are supported by a team of tutors who are based on site.
Ryan, a student from Derby, started his Project SEARCH work placement with the Restaurant Team in September. Unlike some of the other students, Ryan also has the additional barrier of being Deaf. Ryan said: “I was so nervous on my first day, but the team have really helped my confidence grow. This is my dream job and goal to work here. Everything about the role has been brilliant!”
The team supporting Ryan on his placement in the restaurant have helped build his confidence when interacting with customers. The Job Coach and Tutor have created picture aids and resources to support communication. These picture aids help both the customers and Ryan as they not only include prompts for the orders they would like to place, but also basic sign language on them.
Within the Restaurant Team, Ryan has been partnered up with mentor, Jennifer Dennis, Catering Assistant. Jennifer will be supporting Ryan through his journey at the Royal Derby Hospital.
Jennifer said: “Ryan’s attitude towards work and learning is fantastic; he has bags of enthusiasm and motivation. He is in his element working on the jacket potato stand. Before having Ryan in the department, I had never heard of Project Search, I think it is an absolutely brilliant idea. Ryan has been and absolute pleasure and joy to work with and get to know. I hope other establishments and businesses across Derbyshire consider getting in touch with Project SEARCH. Everybody deserves a chance.”
Sarah Cutler, Project SEARCH Job Coach, said: “Ryan never fails to impress us with his positive attitude towards work. Ryan joined us not knowing any of the other students and quickly made friends with everyone. We are so proud of how far he has come in such a short space of time. He has made such a fabulous impression on the catering team and seeing how much he is loving his role is just inspirational.”
The original article is available at www.uhdb.nhs.uk/latest-news/spotlight-on-our-project-search-students-ryan