Project SEARCH achievement

Graduates celebrate course success


An event, celebrating the achievements of 24 Project SEARCH students graduating from their year-long employability course, took place.

The Project SEARCH model has become a worldwide success story in helping young people with additional support needs secure work - with 80% of last year's students gaining employment.

The students were joined by friends, family, mentors, employers, lecturers and other invited guests, at the event held in Motherwell Concert Hall and Theatre, to mark their accomplishments.

Students tell us that the DFN Project SEARCH experience of classroom learning and skill development from work placements, has increased their confidence and chances of obtaining employment in the general job market. The three teams of students - who are based at Hairmyres, Monklands or Wishaw General hospitals - were presented with certificates and gifts in recognition of their success. The participants attend for one year and are supported by a job coach and a lecturer. During the year, they complete three work placement blocks of 10-12 weeks, in areas such as laboratories, portering, domestics, catering, grounds keeping and mailroom.

Lee Denny, University Hospital Monklands student, enjoyed placements at Lanarkshire Beatson, renal unit and pathology, and is now on a Modern Apprenticeship in Business Admin and IT with NHS Lanarkshire. He said: "I have coped well with the different types of work and have improved my organising skills. I have enjoyed all three placements and enjoyed carrying out these new tasks."

Hairmyres student, Nicola Pye, who's carried out placements in linen, hostessing and day surgery, added: "I've really enjoyed coming to Project SEARCH and being part of it all. I've come on a lot being independent and confident."

Shona McAllister, enjoyed placements at University Hospital Wishaw in theatres reception, theatres stores and day surgery. She said: "Project SEARCH has really helped me to pursue a career in healthcare. After my placements I did a CSW course and I am just about to sign up to work on the staff bank."

The event also recognises the partnership between North and South Lanarkshire Councils, NHS Lanarkshire, Serco (University Hospital Wishaw Facilities Management), ISS (University Hospital Hairmyres Facilities Management) and New College Lanarkshire.

Des Murray, Chief Executive of North Lanarkshire Council, welcomed guests to the event; Provost of North Lanarkshire, Councillor Jean Jones presented the successful students with their gifts and certificates, while Councillor Paul Kelly, Depute Leader of North Lanarkshire Council, provided the closing remarks.


"One of the key elements of Project SEARCH is the success of its partnership and the role of all the agencies involved in supporting the students and being part of the project," said Yvonne Weir, Enterprise Manager with North Lanarkshire Council. "It's an excellent example of how we're working together to significantly improve the employment opportunities of young people with disabilities and transforming their lives through the power of work.

"It was a pleasure to be here and I hope the students enjoyed their graduation. To see the look of pride on their faces, as well as the delight of their families and friends was really special. They have achieved great things and I'm confident they will go on to have an exciting future in the world of work."

Adam Fairweather, Curriculum and Quality Leader, New College Lanarkshire added: "Each year we recruit trainees on to Project SEARCH and the graduation allows everyone to witness the impact that this Project can have on individuals in such a short period of time. It impacts mentors, partner colleagues and most of all, the recruits themselves. Everyone involved in the project contributes an enormous amount of time and effort and this is rewarded in June. It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to celebrate, as a partnership, the achievements of these incredible young people. The journey that each trainee encounters is different, however, as we enter our tenth year in partnership I wish each of the trainees an enjoyable and successful future as they take their first steps towards employment."

Paula McGinty, Vocational Development Officer, South Lanarkshire Council, said: "All DFN Project SEARCH graduates are an inspiration to us. They have developed so much and some have achieved their aspiration of paid employment. You can certainly see the value of Project SEARCH when we look at the outstanding contribution of each intern in the workplace, with everyone involved from parents/carers, mentors and partners together. South Lanarkshire Council is proud of the achievements of each and every graduate!"

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