A group of ten interns have started work placements with Bath and North East Somerset Council as part of this year’s Project SEARCH programme.
Project SEARCH, run in partnership with Bath College, Bath and North East Somerset Council and Virgin Care, helps young people with learning difficulties and disabilities get ready for employment.
Last year, five interns graduated from Project SEARCH, and this year ten young people aged 18 to 24-years-old are following in their footsteps.
Popular placements include working with the housekeeping team at the Assembly Rooms, at Odd Down Sports Ground and the Bath Recycling Centre.
Chelsea Taylor is looking forward to a year with Project SEARCH after completing Bath College’s Life and Independent Living Skills (LILS) course.
The 18-year-old, from Keynsham, is starting her first placement at The Pump Room, working in the restaurant as a waiter.
She said: “I’m looking forward to being treated as an adult in the workplace, and being able to work independently. I haven’t got any nerves, I know I’ll enjoy it and it’ll make a nice change to be out and about.”
When they’re not on work placements, Project SEARCH interns learn about appropriate behaviour in the workplace, health and safety, equality and diversity, customer service and budgeting.
They are visited during their placements by job coaches from Virgin Care who make sure they understand their duties and employer policies, as well as checking they are happy and confident in their role.
Project SEARCH intern Nick Baxter will be working in the kitchens at The Pump Room, and before this he also spent two years as a LILS student at Bath College.
He said: “I’m enjoying the chance to go out as a class. We’ve been visiting the Roman Baths, the Assembly Rooms and the parks department – all the different places we might go for our work placements.
“It’s important to have a job which gives you something to do each day and I like cooking. I’m looking forward to preparing food in a busy kitchen.”
Catherine Stargatt, lecturer in foundation learning at Bath College, said: “What a fantastic start to the new academic year at Project SEARCH.
“We have ten interns who are enthusiastic and dedicated to the course. If they continue with their positive outlook and professional behaviour, they will be well prepared to apply for jobs next year.”
There are a limited number of spaces on the Project SEARCH programme. To apply for next year e-mail Catherine.Stargatt@bathcollege.ac.uk