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Graduation day for seven project search interns from acclaimed work experience programme

Graduation day for seven project search interns from acclaimed work experience programme

ClwydAlyn and partners have celebrated the graduation of interns with learning disabilities and autism as part of an internationally acclaimed transition to employment programme.

Seven young adults from Flintshire have celebrated graduating from the one-year Project SEARCH programme, which is designed to offer them real work experiences and skills needed to find paid employment.

The online ceremony, attended by the interns, mentors, parents, local businesses and local councillors, marked the end of 800 hours of learning new skills across the academic year.

Students have been employed by host organisation, housing association ClwydAlyn, as well as Flintshire County Council, Aura and McDonalds.

Students built up knowledge and skills in their chosen career path during three rotations which included roles such as catering, cleaning, administration, customer services and barista shifts to ensure they find their most suited position.

The programme, in partnership with DFN Project Search, Flintshire County Council, charity Hft, and Coleg Cambria, began in September 2019 providing young people with a one-year transition to work programme.

Chief executive Clare Budden said the initiative supported ClwydAlyn’s ethos of providing people with a pathway towards a fulfilling life.

She said: “We have always engaged with volunteering and opportunities for work experience and regularly implement initiatives we believe can drive forward the quality of life and prospects for people.

“We’ve seen the life-changing effects this project has on the students involved through providing them with good quality work experience, employability skills and the tools to live independently. All seven students have really excelled themselves by displaying high standards in all aspects of their work and are so proud to see them graduate from the programme.”

All the graduates are now looking forward to the next stage in their progression.

Intern Owen has secured a full-time post with the North East Wales Community Equipment Service, while Lewis is working at Flint Mountain Park Hotel. George will take up a post at McDonald’s in Flint once it fully opens to the public and Letitia starts work at Llys Raddington in September, supporting people to take part in activities.

Lewis’ mum Andrea Roberts said: “This is an amazing service. My son Lewis has never experienced public transport or completed employment application forms and with these experiences has now achieved a voluntary position with Aura through helping in the café at the Jade Jones Pavillion. Since starting Project Search, not only has Lewis achieved a voluntary role, he has gained new skills, his confidence has grown, and he is shortly moving into his own independent living flat. We are so proud of Lewis for everything he has achieved thanks to the support and guidance from the staff at Project Search.”

Other successes include Jess, who will take up a café assistant post in Holywell, Ellis has an opportunity at the Glas Fryn Mold and Rachel is currently volunteering with Hft HWB in Flintshire but is seeking work in administration or retail.

Clare said the interns and their colleagues had adapted their ways of working to ensure smooth transitions into each business.

She said: “One of our brilliant students, who works in the Llys Raddington restaurant within one of our extra care homes, is deaf and has worked tirelessly to overcome the communication barriers with staff and residents. By overcoming this communication barrier, he has been able to work with the team independently and become an invaluable asset in a time where there has been limited staff.” 

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