Project SEARCH: Class of 2023 Graduate

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13th Jul 2023

Project SEARCH: Class of 2023 Graduate

~ Hospital staff thank interns for their contribution over the year ~

~ Families join interns at graduation ceremonies ~

In the past week, graduation ceremonies have been held to mark the fantastic achievements of Whitefield Academy Trust’s Project SEARCH interns who have been working at Whipps Cross and St Bartholomew’s Hospitals this year.

Across the two ceremonies, 18 young people were celebrated for their dedicated work during the ten-month supported internship.  As part of the programme, the interns have undertaken a series of placements developing vital employability skills and gaining valuable experience.  The interns have carried out a variety of roles including as porters, ward hosts and administrators.  By working as integral members of their teams, the interns have developed key skills such as time management, organisation, teamwork and punctuality. All the interns have also completed the ASDAN Employability Award, learning important skills including how to write a CV, search for jobs and prepare for a job interview.

Attending the ceremonies were senior leaders from across NHS Barts Health Trust as well as both hospitals.  Guests included Shane DeGaris, the Group CEO at Barts Health NHS Trust, Ralph Coulbeck, the CEO of Whipps Cross Hospital, Justin Creigh, the Deputy Executive Director at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, and representatives from the departments where the interns had been working. The interns’ families also attended and were beaming with pride throughout the ceremony.

Across both events, guests heard from hospital staff about the impact the interns have had on their teams. The guests also heard from some of the interns themselves who spoke about the journey they have been on and how much they have benefited from the internship.  Nats Alves spoke at the St Bartholomew’s Hospital Graduation whilst Daniel Ilawe and Jinan Hussein spoke at the Whipps Cross Hospital Graduation. They all reflected positively on the work they had accomplished and on the wonderful support which they received from the hospitals, their job coaches, and all those involved in Project SEARCH.

Speaking to the interns at the St Bartholomew’s Hospital event, Kirstie Fulthorpe, Whitefield Academy Trust Chief Executive, said:

“I know there have been lots of skills to learn – let alone lots of people to get to know and lots of corridors to navigate. I am sure it has been tricky at times but you have shown true resilience and determination as you overcame each challenge. Likewise, you have been a wonderful source of support to each other.  As well as being team members and helping the hospital run smoothly, you have been incredible ambassadors for people with different abilities.

“You have learnt new skills, you have made yourselves indispensable members of your team and you have developed into confident, ambitious, and committed young people. You should be very proud of yourselves because we all are.”

Kirstie also went on to thank the team at St Bartholomew’s. She said:

“We are hugely fortunate to have worked with such a fantastic team and we are so grateful for the commitment you have shown to this programme. You have welcomed us with open arms, made adjustments and gone out of your way to find placements that interest and engage our interns and give them the opportunity to learn and hone new skills. For this, we are hugely grateful and we look forward to building on this partnership in the years to come.”

This was the first year that Project SEARCH has been run at St Bartholomew’s Hospital. Based on the success of the first year, the Project is being expanded and will offer 13 places next September. This was the 10th year that the Project has run at Whipps Cross Hospital and next year 13 interns will join the programme.