An internship program for young adults with special educational needs and disabilities has been set up in Worcestershire.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust (WAHT) in collaboration with Regency High School and DFN Project SEARCH, is launching the supported internship for people aged between 16 and 24, enabling them to gain work experience in hospital settings.

Through this partnership, the trust, in collaboration with Worcestershire Children First, Worcestershire County Council, and Hft, a learning disability charity, has become the first in the region to support DFN Project SEARCH, which tailors specifically to students with learning disabilities and autism spectrum conditions.


Read more: Dogs Trust Evesham's longest resident, Barney, is seeking a home


Libby Marshall, apprenticeship and widening participation lead at WAHT, said: "This is a fantastic collaboration and one which is supported nationally by NHS England.

"We are proud to be the first employer championing Project SEARCH in Worcestershire and it will help us promote the Trust as a diverse and inclusive workplace."

Throughout the first semester, interns have worked in departments such as catering, operations, and pathology at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

Sarah Price from the pathology department commended one of the interns, Josh Hines, saying: "The team has been very supportive of Josh, and he has fitted in brilliantly."

Bromsgrove Advertiser: Intern Ethan Kenny described the programme as 'rewarding'

Assistant headteacher at Regency High School, Gemma Willetts, said: "We are incredibly proud of the students’ hard work and commitment.

"Project SEARCH is having a huge impact on their personal and social development, opening doors and their eyes to employment prospects they may not have previously imagined."

Claire Moseley of Hft said: "Their incredible support from the beginning is greatly appreciated and has helped enormously in settling our students in to their placements, particularly in such a busy work environment as the hospital."

One intern, Ethan Kenny, said: "Working here has been rewarding, and the people have been very welcoming."

Another intern, Jack Cook, added: "I have enjoyed learning to be a chef, which is something I have always wanted to do. The support from my colleagues has been very helpful."

Over 70 per cent of young people graduating from DFN Project SEARCH programs find paid employment.