Project SEARCH is a life-changing project opening up a world of opportunities for young people with SEND. The project, which is run at Whipps Cross Hospital, helps young people with SEND gain useful employability skills within a supportive and understanding environment. From September 2022, the Project will also be run at Britain’s oldest hospital, St Bartholomew’s Hospital in the City of London. Both hospitals are part of east London’s Barts Health NHS Trust.
As part of the project, young people aged 17-24 undertake three work placements at the hospitals working in a range of clinical and non-clinical departments as porters, receptionists and assistants.
Throughout the year-long programme, interns received intensive, personalised support from exceptional mentors who ensure they feel secure and comfortable every step of the way. Support might include helping interns travel independently to work, giving them the confidence to speak to new people or identifying ways to work through a list of tasks. This support enables our interns to excel in their placements and become highly-valued team members making a meaningful contribution to their department.
With an employment success rate of over 70%, Project SEARCH has a proven track record of helping young people with SEND secure fulfilling and meaningful jobs. Many graduates of the programme go on to gain full-time, paid employment which they have secured through competitive application processes.
The impact of Project SEARCH cannot be underestimated; not only does it provide worthwhile employment, it also increases interns’ confidence and self-belief and, most importantly, gives them a sense of purpose in life.
- Administrative: sorting patient notes and making and taking phone calls
- Technical: working in medical engineering and the equipment library
- Portering: moving patients and equipment around the hospital
- Ward Based: restocking equipment
- Friends and Family survey
- Ward Host: serving and preparing food
- Laboratory: booking and logging samples and specimens
- Outpatients: reception and booking appointments
- Food Preparation: preparing food and delivering meals
Who can apply?
Project SEARCH is open to anyone aged 16-24 who has or who has recently had an Education, Health and Care Plan. Interns need to be able to commit to a five day week programme and should be able to travel independently.
Meet our interns
Click here to read how Project SEARCH has transformed the lives of our interns.
To find out more, please visit Project Search. To request an application form, please e-mail Janet Wingate-Whyte at:
View Our Case Studies
‘My journey has been truly transformational and has had a huge impact on the quality of my life.’
“I really enjoyed the patient contact and got great satisfaction in helping others. I took pride in my work and was a valued member of the team.”
“I am very fortunate to have such an amazing and supportive team and management who have helped me get to where I am today.”
“The best thing about Project SEARCH was learning new skills and meeting new people. This has been a life changing experience for me.”
“The Job has given me a sense of purpose in life and helped me to build lots of bridges and build my confidence. It has taught me about taking responsibility in life and becoming more independent.”
Project Search: A Typical Day
Arrive at Project SEARCH Office, sign in and prepare for the day
09:00 – 09:45
Wellbeing group discussion and ASDAN qualification session
10:00 – 15:00
Total workplace immersion and hands-on skills training at their placements
15:00 – 15:45
Employability Skills session, review and reflect on the day
End of day