Hospital project helps in search for work

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SEVEN young people with learning disabilities have graduated from a pioneering training course designed to help them into work.

Based at Wishaw General Hospital, Project Search is run by North Lanarkshire Council, NHS Lanarkshire, Serco, North Lanarkshire’s Working and Motherwell College, and is the first initiative of its kind in Scotland.

The programme provides each trainee with classroom studies and three on-the-job placements in various settings including administration, nursing, mail services, cleaning and catering.

A job coach from the council’s supported employment scheme works closely with each trainee to support them during their placements.

All of the first eight trainees, who graduated last year, secured permanent jobs as a result and already three of the seven young people who completed the second programme are working.

This year’s graduates were Kieran Cochrane, Stacey Rogers, Roisin Cassidy, Stephanie Hawthorne, Emma Reilly, Colin Reid and Scott Reilly.

Councillor Sam Love, convener of the council’s housing and social work committee, said: “Project Search is an excellent initiative to support young people with a learning disability to gain the skills and experience they need to secure a job and increase their independence.

“It builds on the first class service provided by the council’s supported employment team and shows how partnership working between the private and public sectors can deliver real benefits.”

Ian Ross, acting chief executive at NHS Lanarkshire, added: “The young people have worked very hard and to see how much they have achieved is inspirational.

“We are delighted to support Project Search and look forward to its continuing success.”