DFN Project SEARCH at the Royal Derby Hospital

The Project SEARCH programme is a supported internship training and employment opportunity for adults aged 18-19 (Year 14) with a learning disability, which takes place entirely at the Royal Derby Hospital site. Project SEARCH provides real life work experience combined with training in employability and independent living skills, as well as formulating a CV, to help young people with learning difficulties to make successful transitions from school to productive adult life. The goal for each student is competitive employment somewhere in the community using the transferable skills they have acquired at the Royal Derby Hospital.

Project SEARCH is run in partnership with the DEBP, ISS, Royal Derby Hospital and Royal School for the Deaf Derby.

How does Project SEARCH at the Royal Derby Hospital work?

Project SEARCH has been running at Royal Derby Hospital since September 2019. There are 8 interns based at the hospital for one academic year, where they gain 30 weeks of placement experience in different departments in the hospital, including The restaurant, Medical Records, Back of House catering, Receipts and distribution, the Pathology Lab, the post room and many more.

The interns are matched to their placements in terms of skills, abilities, and interests, and this differs for each student. The interns are supported by the tutor, job coach and their mentors who work alongside them in each department, helping them to learn the skills required in each placement, until they can perform the tasks independently.

The tutor and on-site job coach also support them in placement and help them to develop an employability plan, CV and write letters to employers. The interns have classroom-based learning on topics such as employability skills, financial literacy, social skills and health and safety in the hospital.

You will spend about 85-95% of your time working and the remainder of the time in group sessions in the morning starting at 8:45am – 9:45am where you will learn:

Teambuilding Financial Literacy Workplace Safety
Employability Health and Wellness Preparing for Employment
Self Advocacy Technology  

Here are some examples of the work our students are doing:

Here are some quotes about Project Search Derby from our students.

“Project Search Is an opportunity for me to learn new skills and build on skills that I have learned over my life. Everybody I have spoken to around the hospital has been really helpful and made me have a different idea of what the hospital really is. I was shocked when I saw all the people at hospital been happy with smiles on their faces.”

“I am wanting to get job at the end of Project Search, so I get earning my own money. I would like to make new friends in the workplace That I can ask for help if I need help in my job.”

“I would like to be more confident speaking to new people. I chose Project Search because I like to help people and like getting my hands dirty in work.”

“What I like about project search being based in the Royal Derby Hospital is about 9 years ago I was knocked off my bike by a car and I was air lifted to QMC then transferred to Derby Royal. So I want to give back to the hospital. What I like about Project Search is that it is different to college and Project Search is a good opportunity to learn new skills to get a new job. To be able to train in that job you want to do and get the job at the end of the course would make me very happy.”

“Project Search is helping me to gain skills needed to get a job that l like to do. ”

“What I like about Project Search is it good to help your team and other people.”

“I am learning new skills to get good job to make new friends.”

Here are some Project SEARCH interns sharing their experiences:

Zak’s experience of Project SEARCH – https://youtu.be/gC1pYJMFevo

Callum’s experience of Project SEARCH – Part 1: https://youtu.be/gVbIV5J1fo8, Part 2: https://youtu.be/QAkFhxSiJx8

Imogen’s experience of Project SEARCH – https://youtu.be/m8ZDVTuLZ2Y

DFN Project SEARCH and YOU…

Project SEARCH is a fantastic and effective way for a young person with special needs to find full-time employment, but it is not right for everyone.

The ideal candidate:

  •  Is aged 18-19 (Year 14)
  •  Has a current and active EHCPlan.
  •  Can commit to a 5-day week programme.
  • Can commit to working full-time (at least 16 hours/week) at the end of the Project SEARCH programme
  •  Has the potential to develop skills required to meet the needs of a business, host or in community.
  •  Is within travelling distance of Royal Derby Hospital and an independent traveller.

Furthermore, having a supportive family, fully behind the idea of completing the programme and going to work is also especially important to an intern's prospect of success.

For more information on this Project SEARCH, please contact Anna Drake – anna.drake@stmartins.set.org