A group of youngsters will start work at a South Cumbrian hospital, thanks to a unique scheme.
The scheme, led by Furness College, supports students with learning differences and disabilities into jobs and 10 young people aged between 18 and 23 will start their path to paid employment at Furness General Hospital.
They have secured places on Furness College’s DFN Project Search supported internship programme, which is a new opportunity for students with Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC), learning difficulties and disabilities (LDD) in partnership with Right2Work, Cumbria County Council, Inspira and University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust who are the host employer.
Adam Ashdown, Bailey Harding, Cavan Armstrong, Connor Smithers, Ella Shaw, Georgia Chesher, Jack Kelly, Lee Wharton, William Ryan and Zak Johnson were selected from 18 applicants and will start as interns at the hospital in September.
The college’s assistant principal for curriculum, Sue Hannan, said they had all passed a rigorous interview and assessment process with representatives from all the partners to get onto the scheme, which is the first of its kind in Cumbria.
“We tested both their practical and communication skills to assess their suitability for work and they did brilliantly. Our successful candidates will join the programme from a variety of different courses ranging from A-levels to construction.”
This week they had an introduction to their placements, which will range from administration, portering, catering, domestic services, pharmacy and facilities. They will work five days a week from 9am to 4pm supported by college staff and job coaches to practise essential skills in the hospital environment.
Adam said: “I am excited to join the NHS and I want to be a porter.”
Zak Johnson said: “Going to Furness General Hospital today has really piqued my interest, I liked learning about how the meals are made and I hope to work in the catering team as an intern.”
Bailey added that his day was ‘an 11/10’.
The group, who all have educational health and care plans, will also continue to develop the literacy and numeracy skills that are required in the workplace and experience three different work rotations across the academic year.
The scheme is also set to roll out across Royal Lancaster Infirmary and Westmorland General Hospital in Kendal with support from Lancaster and Morecambe and Kendal colleges.