Learning difficulties project leads the way nationally

A pioneering Norfolk project that helps students with learning difficulties find paid employment is to be rolled out across the UK.

Project Search – a joint initiative between Norfolk County Council, Remploy, Serco, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) and City College Norwich – is based at NNUH where students undertake internships such as housekeepers, health records assistants and catering assistants.

The project has already received visits from two Cabinet Office Ministers and now the Government is inviting proposals from local partnerships which are interested in running their own Project Search, using the Norfolk model.

Councillor David Harwood, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Services at Norfolk County Council, said: “This is a really worthwhile project that is creating valuable training opportunities, helping people with learning difficulties to be ambitious and achieve their aspirations. I am delighted that we are leading the way nationally in this area and that the Government has decided to roll out this project across the country.”

Dick Palmer, Principal, City College Norwich, said: “The Project Search course provides students with learning difficulties and disabilities the opportunity to learn vital skills on the job giving them the very best preparation for moving into paid employment – the goal of all the students.”

News that the project is being rolled out across the UK comes after representatives of Norfolk Project Search were invited to give a presentation of their work at a conference in Atlanta, USA. The conference was attended by 350 delegates from across the world.

Project Search is specifically tailored to students with learning difficulties and allows vital skills to be taught in a real work environment. Students from City College Norwich, who started the landmark course last year, celebrated their graduation from the scheme last week. The students will now be supported to find full time jobs.

In September, Norfolk will start a second programme with Norse Commercial Services as the host employer, in partnership with Remploy, City College Norwich and Norfolk County Council. Internships will be available in many sectors such as gardening, woodwork, finance and administration.

A film has been made about the project and features interviews with a manager, a job coach and a student. To watch, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ea_JOiZRyGM

Notes for editors

For political comment
Cllr David Harwood (Cons) Cabinet member for Adult Social Services 01553 828872
Cllr James Joyce (Lib Dem) 01603 872651
Cllr Stephen Little (Green) 01603 617888
Cllr George Nobbs (Labour) 01603 613427

Jemma Thake, Communications Officer, 01603 222972 or jemma.thake@norfolk.gov.uk
This press release is available at www.norfolk.gov.uk. Click on news.

Friday 31st of July 2009 02:00:44 PM