Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board have partnered with Bridgend College, Elite Supported Employment Agency and DFN Project SEARCH to deliver the Engage to Change programme to support young people with learning difficulties and/or autism find sustainable work by learning and gaining real time work-based experiences.
Engage to Change DFN Project SEARCH is a one-year internship programme supporting young people to gain the skills and experience they need to move into paid employment. In Wales, DFN Project SEARCH is being funded as part of the wider Engage to Change project by the National Lottery Community Fund, in partnership with Welsh Government.
In October 2018 ten interns started their placement at the Princess of Wales Hospital. The interns have up to three ten-week placements that match their needs working in a person centred manner. Each intern receives one to one job coaching and has a dedicated mentor. They also undertake on site induction and health and safety training, on top of their specific job training and learning reflection which is done together with our partners.
Peter Obradovich, employment advisor for DFN Project SEARCH said: “Projects like Engage to Change are incredibly important in enabling a number of partners to come together and use their skills and expertise to help young people with learning difficulties and/or autism into sustainable paid employment.
“After their placement is complete and they learn all the necessary skills the interns can then apply for jobs within the health board”.
We caught up with four of the interns, 22-year-old Tom James, 23-year-old James Daniels, 23 year old Luke Townsend and 22 year old Rhys Harries.
The young men were delighted with the Engage to Change DFN Project SEARCH programme and their placements.
Each of these interns have subsequently been offered paid employment within pharmacy and support services.
Rhys’ placement was within the pharmacy department. Rhys said: “I would like to say thank you so much to our managers for helping us in our placements.
“I love coming into work and visiting the wards and departments and meeting people, it’s been an amazing experience and I got a job at the end of it”.
Beverley Pritchard, pathways to employment project manager for the health board said: “We are delighted that the interns’ secured paid employment after their placement was complete. They worked very hard with the support of the project team in the departments at Prince of Wales Hospital to achieve this goal. It is evident from the success of these young people that we must continue supporting Project Search”.
Visit www.engagetochange.org.uk for more information on Engage to Change DFN Project SEARCH.