MY Project Search
MY Project SEARCH in Wakefield is a unique pre-employment program based at Pinderfields Hospital which helps young people with learning disabilities gain the skills they need to get meaningful paid jobs.
Our Trust has partnered with Highfield School, Wakefield Council, Hft Supported Employment Agency, Pennine Camphill Community and Wakefield College, to give young adults with learning difficulties the chance to gain valuable work experience, in a programme called Project SEARCH.
The programme, which we launched on 1 September 2017, is a one year supported training and employment internship opportunity for adults aged 17-25 with a learning disability It takes place entirely at our Pinderfields Hospital site with the Interns rotating into a different placement each academic term.
The Project SEARCH programme provides real life work experience combined with training in employability and independent living skills, as well as formulating a CV, to help young people make successful transitions from school to productive adult life. The goal for each student is paid employment somewhere in the community using the skills they have acquired at our Hospital.
This year we have six trainees based at the hospital for where they will gain 30 weeks of placement experience in different departments within our hospital, including Recruitment, Facilities, Medical Records, Medical Staffing, and many more.
Watch our Project Search video here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=weap2ii8lws
Our Interns are matched to their placements in terms of skills, abilities and interests, and this differs for each student. All of our Interns are supported by their local mentors who work alongside them in each department, helping them to learn the skills required in each placement, until they can perform the tasks independently.
Our Interns also receive support from their on-site Project SEARCH job coach and tutor, who support them in placement and help them to develop an employability plan, CV and write letters to employers. They also have classroom based learning on topics such as employability skills, social skills and health and safety in the hospital.
How does Project Search work?
Project SEARCH operates over an academic year. Interns begin on the Project in September, and continue on the programme until the following July.
When interns first begin on the Project they complete an induction for the first two weeks to three weeks, where they do all the mandatory training required by the hospital, and learn how to work professionally, to our Trust standards, and how to work safely.
Each term they undertake a new “rotation” or work placement. Each rotation begins with 1:1 support from a member of the Project SEARCH team, but ultimately the intern will be working on the job independently. There will be a mentor in their placement, who interns can go to with any questions or concerns. We aim for our mentors to be the best people at the jobs, so that the interns have excellent role models. During the placement, interns have continual feedback on their performance, to help them develop and work towards individual goals. Each placement builds on the skills developed in the previous role, to help our interns move towards paid employment.
Our job coaches and tutor, who specialise in supporting people with learning disabilities in employment, will coach interns into their placements, teaching them the skills they will need.
Alongside their rotations, interns have two sessions in our Base Room each day where they complete an employability skills curriculum. This includes things such as:
• employer’s expectations
• health and safety
• tackling problems at work
• completing CVs
• interview practice
As the year continues, sessions in the base room shift focus towards job searching. Interns can find a job at any stage during their year on Project SEARCH.
Whenever an intern finds paid work, they are supported to learn the role, with any problems, and to complete training, by a member of our partner, hft’s, supported employment team. Hft continues to work with employed graduates on a follow-on basis for as long as they are in work.
Jobs are not guaranteed on Project SEARCH. All interns who find paid employment have done so through showing a good work ethic, determination and hard work.