Award win for hospital work scheme

A pioneering project to give young people with learning difficulties the skills to get paid employment at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital last night won an East of England Business in the Community award.

The project is a partnership between the university hospital, City College Norwich, Serco, Remploy, and Norfolk County Council. The Project Search scheme was launched in January 2009 with eight students taking part, a further 12 students were taken on in September. All students have learning difficulties e.g. Asperger’s, Down’s Syndrome.

The programme uses work experience, combined with classroom instruction and on the job support to help clients to enter the work force and if possible take on non-traditional roles which are suited to their condition. City College Norwich provides a tutor and Remploy provide a job coach who operates from a classroom in the hospital. Project Search is a model developed in the US, at Cincinatti Children's Hospital.

Deputy Director of Nursing Carol Edwards said; “We were delighted to win this award. It’s been a great example of partnership working that makes a real difference to people. I was very privileged to accept the award with James, Sam and Benjamin, three of the interns who are now employed at the hospital. Project Search is now being rolled out across the country and all of the organisations involved in the project are delighted to have gained this recognition.”

Over a 12 month period each student can undertake three work placements. All students have personalised learning programmes and mentors within the placement. Managers in the hospital volunteer their departments, which are fully assessed and mentor trained.

50% of students on the first programme have been employed with a further two being offered jobs recently. The scheme saved £6,000 in recruitment costs, more than 20 staff members have been trained in systematic instruction and mentoring and it has increased the diversity of workforce – previously no employees had moderate learning disabilities

The project won the Anglian Water Most Innovative New Programme Award last night at the Business in the Community (BITC) East of England Awards 2010 which were held at Hengrave Hall in Suffolk.

Serco, the facilities management company that runs non-clinical services at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, also won the BITC Health Work and Well Being Award for their success in reducing health and safety incidents and lowering staff sickness levels.

Wednesday 9th of June 2010 11:00:37 AM