Project SEARCH started in 1998 in America and follows the ethos that “People with disabilities have the right to choose a path toward education and employment.”

To date there are now 30 Project SEARCH sites in the UK and one in Ireland. Two are in universities. 21 of these are in hospitals, St George’s is one of the hospitals involved.

Project SEARCH at St George’s is a collaborative programme between Action on Disability, Cricket Green School and the trust. For the past three years we have worked together giving young people the opportunity to undertake extended work experience at St George’s Hospital, to learn what it’s like in the working world and become job ready.

The 2014/15 students are now nearing the end of their year at St George’s Hospital and are ready for work. This month we have celebrated their achievements with a graduation ceremony. All trainees who have gone through the scheme at the trust have secured a full-time job afterwards. We are proud to say that this makes us one of the most successful project SEARCH sites in the UK.

“I am a kind, gentle, patient person” says Hiwot Gerum, Project SEARCH graduate. “It is fun to work. I like to meet new people and learn new skills. I would like to find a job for my future; to buy my own house and to travel to different countries. If I had money I would give it to charity, to children without parents and to disabled children.”

Hiwot Gerum

Justine-Louise Makin, Lead Hospital Play Specialist who worked with Hiwot said, “Hiwot has been working alongside a Play Specialist in the Central playroom carrying out normalising/developmental play with children/young perople who have been admitted to hospital. She is polite, courteous and well-mannered at all times and seemed to really enjoy her placement here with us. It has been a pleasure to work with Hiwot and we wish her luck in her future employment.”

“I like to be independent and learn new skills” says Isobel Tyrrell, Project SEARCH graduate. “I like working with people because I am a happy, caring and helpful. I am hard-working, good at working independently and following instructions.”

Isobel Tyrrell

James Tierney, Post Room Porter who worked with Isobel said, “It was a delight working with Isobel. She is always keen to work. Isobel always listens to what you tell her. She likes to progress; she likes to be independent as quickly as possible, and she’s very co-operative.”

“I like meeting new people, I enjoy working as a team and also working by myself too” says Maria Khan, Project SEARCH graduate. “I really enjoy working with customers. I am really friendly, kind and polite. I would like a job to make my family proud.”

Maria Khan

Glenn Scott, Training and Compliance Manager at Mitie who worked with Maria said, “Maria has achieved so much in one academic year. She is very enthusiastic in whatever work given and enjoys training. She has achieved accredited Level One and Two Food Safety. Level One Nutrition and level One Health & Safety in the workplace, B.I.C.S and in-house Customer service training.

“I like working with people because I am a happy and cheerful person.” says Rebecca Morgan, Project SEARCH graduate. “I am very good at using the phone and I enjoy meeting new people. I would really like to find a job to save money, to feel very proud and to make my family happy.”

Rebecca Morgan

Zoe Laker, Deputy Medical HR Manager who worked with Rebecca said, “Since Becky started her placement in our Medical HR department on 6 January 2015, she has demonstrated an enthusiastic and hard-working attitude to each task given to her. Becky has a bubbly, friendly and helpful nature and is a pleasure to have in our department as part of our team.”

“I am friendly and I am very good at following instructions and getting the job done” says Remela, Project SEARCH graduate. “I like having a job because I like the independence and I like working hard.”

Remela Clarke

Robert Holdawanski, Head Gardener at St George’s worked with Remela, “To start with Remela was shy, but once she came to know the rest of the workers she came out of her shell, interacting with the group. She had the confidence to take on tasks on her own and formed really good relationships with the team. She was funny, and hardworking. I wish her all the best for the future.”

Susie Sadler, Project SEARCH graduate said, “It feels good to have a job because I am working with a team as well as learning to do things for myself.”

Susie Sadler

Annette Bygraves, Corporate Projects Lead, Education and Development Department who worked with Susie said, “Susie was hardworking and kept a sustained focus on the work activities which contributed to high levels of productivity. Susie actively took part in team meetings, made contributions to discussions and showed an interest in, and concern for, her colleagues. She was committed to her work and her attendance was 100%.”

We would like to say congratulations to all of our Project SEARCH graduates! You’ve done an amazing job and really are a credit to the trust.