DFN Project SEARCH is a one-year programme to help young adults with a learning disability or autism gain valuable work experience. The programme has been running at Forth Valley Royal Hospital for several years as part of a partnership between Serco, Forth Valley College, Falkirk Council and NHS Forth Valley.
In this article we hear from intern, Martin Munro about his experience of the programme.
How are you finding the programme?
It’s a good experience working with NHS and Serco staff throughout the hospital.
How are you being supporting by local staff?
They are pleasant and have made me feel welcome from the very beginning. Staff are not afraid to help you if you are stuck. It’s not always serious as we have a joke and a laugh at times, which I like, as long as we are getting on with our work. Staff keep you informed about what’s happening and what needs to be done in the job. Team leaders and managers are always asking how I’m doing and encouraging me.
What have you been doing during your placements?
I have been doing portering (patient transport) then portering (linen and materials management on the lower ground floor) in rotation. I’m now working in the mailroom. It’s been good to get the skills and experience doing a real job.
How have you benefited from the programme?
My confidence has really grown since I started on Project SEARCH. I have been working as part of a team and on my own. I am now working independently and really enjoying my time here. It’s been good getting evaluations from my buddies and team leaders that lets me build on my skills and keep improving in my rotations which, hopefully, help get me a job.
What are you hoping to get out of the experience?
A job! It’s been a great experience on Project SEARCH and you get supported with a buddy throughout which has made me know that I am now ready to start a job.
The next Project SEARCH programme starts in August 2023 – to find out more visit the Forth Valley College website