Project SEARCH

When I came to the end of my college course, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next.  My auntie, who has worked at Whipps Cross Hospital for 25 years, told my mum about Project SEARCH and I was curious to find out more.

After a helpful and informative induction programme, I was placed in the GP X Ray Department.  This is a busy department but my colleagues there were very helpful.  A couple of them were graduates of Project SEARCH and they took care of me.  It was great to see how the Project can lead to full-time paid jobs.

My main tasks in the GP X Ray Department were to greet patients, direct them to the waiting room and offer them a hospital gown if they needed one.  I am usually quite an anxious person and I don’t always find it that easy to talk to new people.  However, my job coaches gave me brilliant advice such as how to communicate with people, how to maintain eye contact and how to listen.  They also told me to stay calm whilst talking to patients.  This was very useful advice which has helped me throughout my time on Project SEARCH.

My next placement was in the Eye Treatment Centre and I am the only Project SEARCH intern to have been placed there.  This is another very busy department – and it’s even busier given the backlog of cases created by Covid.  I want to make a difference here and help the department run as smoothly as possible during this difficult period.  It’s important to me that I do a good job here and I don’t mind staying a little late on some days to make sure all the jobs get done.

In the Eye Treatment Centre, I am doing a range of completely different tasks to those I was doing in GP X Ray.  As well as customer service, I am working in the Secretaries Office helping them with administrative tasks such as letter folding and scanning.  The department has given me a daily rota of different tasks and every couple of weeks they add more tasks which shows their faith in me.  They have also asked me to continue there for my third placement.  This is a huge compliment and I am pleased that they value my work.  This has had a huge impact on my self esteem and I now have a lot of confidence in my abilities.

I really feel a part of the team at Whipps Cross.  The Barts WeCare values are very important to me and I try to follow them whenever I can – particularly in the way I interact with patients and colleagues.  I’ve made lots of new friends and the support I have received from colleagues, my line managers and the job coaches has been brilliant.  I never really had a great relationship with my teachers at school but the Project has given me a voice.  I have the confidence to express my views and ask other people for help whenever I need it.

My mum has also been very involved in the Project and has given me lots of encouragement along the way.  I know she is proud of what I have achieved and how much progress I have made.

Looking ahead, I now know that I want to work with patients and as part of a team.  Through the ASDAN employability training, I can write my own CV and I have had lots of interview practice.  I know how to answer questions, how to have good posture and how important it is that I don’t fidget!  I feel very confident about applying for a job and about my future.