Interns on the Project SEARCH course, run through Sussex Downs College, Eastbourne, graduated in style at Eastbourne’s Hydro Hotel (28th June)

Project SEARCH Eastbourne has been running since 2014 and is continuing to provide job training for young adults with learning difficulties.

Over a nine-month period, eleven interns have developed the employment skills necessary to help them acquire their first paid job. The group graduated last week (28th June) in a celebration ceremony held at Eastbourne’s Hydro Hotel after completing the Project SEARCH course run by Sussex Downs College, in partnership with East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust.

In attendance were Mike Hopkins, Principal and Chief Executive of Sussex Downs College, Caroline Ansell, community advocate of Project SEARCH, and David Clayton-Smith, Chairman of East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust.

David says, “It's been an amazing year for these interns. I didn't believe that they have only been with us for nine months as they have achieved so much in that time. Congratulations to the interns and the team for all the hard work they put in.”

Stacey Beard, Project SEARCH co-ordinator, adds, “A special thank you to everyone who attended to celebrate Project SEARCH’s third Graduation of interns. It was a fantastic night full of tears of joy and celebration. The video of the interns working went down a treat, highlighting memories of the time on the project. The keynote speeches from our special guests were warmly welcomed. Interns were awarded certificates for various employment skills that they have gained while on the project. We also recognised four key NHS staff members who have effortlessly taken interns under their wing over the past nine months. Two of our interns are in full time employment already at the Trust and the other nine are continuing to apply for jobs and attend interviews. We wish them all a successful future.”

Caroline Ansell said, “I continue to be inspired by this amazing group of young people. They have done so well and grown in confidence as they have picked up new skills to equip them for the workplace. They should be proud of the role they have played in a team at the hospital and their parents must be very proud of them too. I hope local employers will see the potential in these young people and go on to employ them.”

David adds, "I would like to congratulate all the interns on their graduation. It is a tremendous achievement. Their hard work around the hospital has contributed to patient care and has been recognised by many members of staff. They have helped to change the way people think and have shown what people with a learning difficulties can do in the workplace. I am proud that the Trust is the host employer for this project - long may that continue. I would also like to thank colleagues who have help to mentor these young people. Project SEARCH is a scheme that I would encourage other employers to get involved with - it is an inspiring success story."

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