Ten young people (aged 18-24) with learning disabilities graduated from their one year work experience and training programme recently at Forth Valley Royal Hospital.
All have been working at the Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert as part of the DFN Project SEARCH programme delivered by Falkirk Council, NHS Forth Valley, SERCO, Forth Valley College and Skills Development Scotland.
The programme offered young people seeking to enter the world of work with an opportunity to develop a range of experience and skills in a number of areas including housekeeping, domestic wards, catering, stores, portering and mail room.
The interns have also completed complementary skills training and achieved relevant certification. Individuals have also started to move into employment with NHS and SERCO with the majority being supported by Falkirk Council.
Councillor David Alexander, Falkirk Council’s spokesperson for Economic Development said: “The programme is helping young people with learning disabilities get into real employment in a number of areas and look forward to seeing many more in the coming years. We have a strengthened commitment to help close the disability employment gap and it gives me great pleasure to confirm that a second year of students will commence in August 2019.”
Jacqueline MacArthur, Director of Curriculum at Forth Valley College commented: “What a fabulous opportunity this has been for the interns and I look forward to hearing more about their onward journey. The collaborative work of the partnership has enabled this to be appositive experience for all and we look forward to working with our partners to develop this programme into a more sustainable opportunity as we progress through the pilot stages.”
Linda Donaldson, HR Director, NHS Forth Valley, said: “NHS Forth Valley is delighted to be involved in DFN Project Search. The project offers an opportunity for students to experience working life in the hospital and over the last year there has been lots of positive feedback from our staff. We look forward to continue to work with our partners from Falkirk Council, Forth Valley College and Serco over the coming years.”
Falkirk Council is the only local authority delivering Fair Start Scotland which is a voluntary programme helping individuals with barriers to employment to get the help and support to take the first steps back to work. Anyone wishing any further information should email Fairstart or call the Employment and Training Unit on 01324 504400.