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Project Choice students graduate

Project Choice students from York and Scarborough Hospitals have marked the completion of their internships with a special graduation event.

Project Choice is a work based programme which supports young people (16-25 years) who have learning disabilities, difficulties or autism with the social and work based skills needed to enable them to become work ready and help them to understand the pathway into employment.

The unpaid internship, which lasts one academic year, is sponsored by Health Education England to help young people remain in full time education, whilst gaining valuable work experience.  The interns have already completed vocational training and have qualifications - so the internship is an opportunity to put these skills into practice.

Over the year, 22 students have undertaken placements across the Trust and local organisations, with 12 graduating from York and 10 from Scarborough.  Placements have been tailored to meet individual needs and have included anything from administrative tasks to working in facilities.

The students were presented with their certificates by chief executive of York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Mike Proctor.  Mike said: “It was an honour to be present at this event - the group’s progress is something to be celebrated.  It was also wonderful to hear about the roles they have undertaken and to observe their families’ pride.”

Project Choice placements last for 12 weeks, up to four days a week and are flexible around location and work hours - depending on need and job roles.  In addition, interns spend one day studying maths and english.

One such student was 22 year old, Danielle Reynolds, who has just completed a 12 week placement working on one of the busy receptions at York Hospital.  Danielle said:  “I am extremely grateful for the time spent teaching and helping me develop my skills and self-confidence, as well as allowing me to gain vital work experience.

“I will make sure to take the lessons taught me and put them to good use in the world of work.  I also wanted to thank you all for helping me to figure out what kind of job it is I want to do in the future.”

Mentors within the Trust have provided workplace support to the interns.  Key to the project’s success has been the combination of the interns' hard work and the unstinting support of their mentors and departmental managers.

Mike added:  “I would like to say a huge thank you to all the mentors and managers within the Trust and also our partner organisations, who have helped this intake along their learning journey.  Without their unstinting support the interns’ progress would not have been possible.  As an organisation we are very proud of their achievements and our staff for making this possible.”

Karen Porter, Project Choice Area Manager added:  “The majority of people with learning disabilities want to work and can make a valuable contribution to employers.  This group have been a pleasure to work with - seven of the interns are already on track for achieving employment/apprenticeships, two have already received job offers and six others are currently attending job trials and interviews.”

The event was celebrated at the DoubleTree by Hilton in York, and was attended by family, friends and programme mentors.

02 August 2018

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Project Choice is a work based programme which supports young people (16-25 years) who have learning disabilities, difficulties or autism with the social and work based skills needed to enable them to become work ready and help them to understand the pathway into employment.

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