New internship to support young people launches

For 19-year-old Aaron Lowe, a one-year supported internship programme at Liverpool University Hospitals is an exciting start to a potential new career pathway.

“I am delighted and so pleased to take up the offer of a placement in Liverpool University Hospitals. I’m really looking forward to starting and learning more about what it’s like to work at a hospital.”

Aaron is one of 12 young people from Greenbank College in Aigburth who have recently secured a full-time internship working in Broadgreen Hospital. The internship uses evidence based model DFN Project SEARCH, an international programme designed to help support young people with learning disabilities and autism gain marketable skills that will help them to be work ready.

Despite the current challenges posed by Coronavirus, Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust adapted the recruitment process into two smaller sessions, so that social distancing could be adhered.

Joined by their parents and guardians, students were able to learn more about roles in areas such as outpatients, therapies, the Central Sterile Services Department (CSSD), estates, porters and catering. Interviews then followed for a place on the full-time course, which is funded by Liverpool City Council.

Debbie Herring, Chief People Officer at Liverpool University Hospitals, said: “This positive partnership with Greenbank College and Liverpool City Council will enable Liverpool University Hospitals to help provide opportunities to young people with learning disabilities - who are underrepresented in the workforce nationally. Following the internship, these students will have the potential to go on to gain permanent employment within our hospitals. We are looking forward to welcoming the successful applicants.”

Anne Kinsella, Special Projects Manager at Greenbank College, said: “We’re delighted that Liverpool University Hospitals has shown commitment to this programme, even in the face of the many challenges posed by Coronavirus. We are excited and committed to this Project Search partnership programme. It offers our young people a five-day per week opportunity at Broadgreen Hospital with the support of a tutor, job coaches and workplace mentor to make that transition from education into paid work.”

Liverpool City Council, along with the Department for Education and the Department for Work and Pensions, has funded the project, working with Greenbank College and Liverpool University Hospitals to set up the DFN Project SEARCH supported internship programme.

Councillor Barbara Murray, Liverpool City Council Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, said: “I am delighted to hear that our fantastic supported internship scheme is expanding at Broadgreen Hospital. The variety of opportunities and types of work will really open up choices for our young people who are so enthusiastic to show what they can do in their commitment to find permanent work. These internships are a great way to access the world of work and getting a job. Good luck to all the new starters at Broadgreen!”

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