Project SEARCH

Before studying at Sixth Form, I went to Whitefield Schools so I knew about Project SEARCH since it started. When it was time to leave Sixth Form, I wasn’t sure that the university route was one I wanted to go down. I had heard about the wide range of jobs Project SEARCH offers and I’ve always wanted to work in a hospital so I thought it would be a great opportunity for me.

I haven’t heard of anything else like Project SEARCH. It’s a purely unique programme and I’m grateful to be involved!

For my first placement, I was an Assistant Admin in the Facilities Office at Whipps Cross Hospital. The point of my role was to make sure each department was able to run smoothly and efficiently. My tasks included auditing, booking accommodation for the doctors and checking furniture was as it should be. I got a good grasp of how to use the computer systems and also moved around the hospital a lot which meant I quickly learnt where everything was.

To start with, the biggest challenge for me was building up the confidence to have proper communication with my colleagues. The staff at Project SEARCH really helped me with this and guided me through any situation I found difficult. By the end of the rotation, I was able to talk to my colleagues comfortably and independently.

Over the Christmas break, the number of Covid-19 cases were rising and we went into a national Lockdown. And so, as much as we all wanted to help, it was hard for myself and the other interns to safely go into the hospital in January.

Instead, we used the time to practise skills that will help us get a job in the future. Each day, we did online sessions from home with our Project SEARCH job coaches. We learnt how to properly do an interview, worked on our CVs and learnt which websites we can use to apply for jobs. It was great getting to see the other interns too and check in on how they were doing.

In February, we were able to return to our placements at Whipps Cross. This is when I started my second and current placement as an Imaging Assistant in GP X-Ray. My role is mainly to help get the patients ready to be seen by the radiologists. This can involve helping them get changed or doing triage questionnaires. It’s important I take down all the right information and try to keep them as calm and happy as possible.

At first I thought I would struggle quite a bit speaking to patients all the time, but I’ve adopted this odd personality where I’m ok doing it – I’m not too sure where it came from! It’s a busy department but I’m enjoying being active and feel like I have a good understanding of what I’m doing. It has definitely developed my understanding of customer care.

I’m excited to see what I’ll be able to do next through the programme. I feel like my first placement tested my skills, my second placement tested my qualities, and I hope my third placement will test both. I’ve always been fascinated by forensics and it looks like I may get the chance to work in the mortuary department next which would be fantastic.

When I finish Project SEARCH, I’d love to get a job at the hospital. There are a lot of different departments here so there’s always something new to learn. I would be open to working in any clinical role if it meant getting to continue my work here.

If I hadn’t joined the programme I’m not really too sure where I’d be. My mum says she’s proud of what I’ve achieved so far but I know I’ve got so much more to give. I’m excited for what’s to come!