Project SEARCH is a programme which sees young people with autism and/or learning difficulties gain real-life work experience combined with training in employability and independent-living skills to make successful transitions to productive adult lives.
The interns will each complete an 11-month placement with three rotations through departments in the hospital. The interns are supported by two job coaches from Elite Supported Employment Agency and a tutor from the College Merthyr Tydfil who will support the interns on site during the week.
Kate Mantle from the College Merthyr Tydfil who will support the interns. Kate said: “I am so excited to be a part of this project, it’s the first of its kind at Prince Charles Hospital and staff have been really passionate and welcoming towards the interns. This is an excellent opportunity for the interns to develop their employability and inter-personal skills.
“I am looking forward to working with the interns and watching them grow and develop new skills over the next year. The interns are keen to get started on their placements and we are all looking forward to what the next academic year will bring.”
Samantha Britton, Head of People at the Health Board said: “We are delighted to see the Project Search Programme at Prince Charles Hospital. Project Search facilitates internships with the College Merthyr Tydfil to support individuals with learning difficulties. As a Health Board we will support them to gain the skills and experience they need to help them transition into paid employment- this is a privilege for us and very rewarding for all those involved in the programme. For our staff to be able to be part of helping support the wellbeing and increased independence of young people in Merthyr through these opportunities whilst experiencing their resilience and drive is a joy to behold.”
Ben is one of the interns starting at Prince Charles Hospital and said: “I wanted to try something new and different to college. I felt happy and excited that I could try working in different departments in the hospital. I’m hoping to get a job as a porter at the end of the course”.
Another Intern, equally as excited commented: “I want to work in the hospital and give something back as they repaired me when I had an accident. The course will give me opportunities to work in a hospital environment and learn new skills to help me work there in the future.”
Kieren also commented: “I want to help people and be the reason someone smiles. I know that I can’t help everyone, but I would like to be able to help some people. I am going to have lots of opportunities with Project Search to learn new skills and put them into practice working in different departments as well as gain in confidence.”