Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust - student story

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Holding hands

16 / 6 / 2015 8.10am

Partnership with Royal Berkshire Foundation Trust, Project SEARCH, Reading College, Brooksfields School and Ways into work

'Each individual competes three, ten to twelve week rotations where they can be placed in different roles to discover which roles they are best suited for.'

Student’s Story

Project SEARCH has partnered with Royal Berkshire Foundation Trust (RBFT), Brooksfields School, Reading College and Ways into Work to offer a supported internship programme for people with learning disabilities. Each individual completes three, ten to twelve week rotations where they can be placed in different roles to discover which roles they are best suited for, increase their knowledge and skill base to enable them to gain employment.

The programme has also worked with departments on business led, job creation roles (different to job carving). For example, during one student’s placement, his role entailed making patient equipment bags for the renal ward. In doing this role, he was 100 per cent accurate while carrying out the role independently. The Matron recognised that his accuracy was higher than other staff (as they were often doing this job between other duties). By creating this role for him it released nursing time to deliver more patient care. His duties were then expanded to include cleaning the beds, unpacking stick and lining machines.

As a result of his excellent performance, a 25 hour per week role was created. The department also saw benefits, including cost saving to the department since they were able to release staff on higher bands to carry out other duties. In his recent appraisal the student was asked to champion hand hygiene as it has been recognised that he never fails to follow the correct procedure

How we did it

  • Project SEARCH has partnered with Royal Berkshire Foundation Trust, Brooksfields School, Reading College and Ways into Work.
  • Project SEARCH offers 12 month internships for young people with a learning disability with a large local employer. The supported internship programme consists of three ten to twelve week internships in different departments at a local employer. 
  • Interns return to an on-site classroom to assess their day and learn communication, problem solving and job skills. They also follow an accredited course to complement their work skills.
  • To access the course students have to be on roll at Brookfields School or Reading College and attend a selection day. 
  • Some adaptions are made to the interview process, such as allowing candidates to see the questions ten minutes prior to interview, if they had language processing difficulties. Working interviews are also undertaken.
  • The students go through an adapted induction programme at the beginning of the course to ensure they understand their new role and meet mandatory requirements for their honorary contract.
  • Mandatory training updated in smaller groups with trainers who have undertaken disability training to ensure their training is accessible.
  • Job creation based on business need.

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