This week is Learning Disability Week (19-25 June) and young people with learning disabilities or autism have been gaining valuable work experience thanks to a scheme at local hospitals.
More than 30 interns have been working since September across Basildon, Broomfield and Southend hospitals in roles such as porters, catering, and working with Healthcare Assistants (HCAs).
The Supported Internship Programme has been delivered jointly by the Trust, Chelmsford College and South Essex College, who have worked with Essex County Council. Interns receive training and improve their career prospects, but they support hospital departments which are delivering essential patient care.
One of those is Oliver Henson-Webb who is a Chelmsford College intern, who is working with HCAs at Broomfield Hospital and has been offered a job at Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust.
I love to help people and figured that a supported internship with the NHS would be the best place to start my career and get some experience. Communication hasn’t always been easy for me, but I’ve had great support from staff on Heybridge ward who have helped me learn how to wash patients, take their blood pressure and oxygen levels, and made me feel confident to chat with them.
“Every day is different, but I now understand what to be aware of on a ward and take extra care of patients who have any wounds or pain. I’ve felt very welcomed and am excited to take my next step as a full HCA.”Oliver Henson-Webb
Another intern is Archie Harrison, who is supported by South Essex College and works in the stores department at Southend Hospital.
I have loved every minute of this job; I can’t think of one thing that I don’t like. I’ve learned so much since being here, including knowing which suppliers to contact, what the different products are and how to work the financial system.
“I’ve become really confident, which was something that I struggled with before joining here, and now I love to chat to everyone and get involved. The team are always keen to answer my questions and share their knowledge with me.”Archie Harrison
The students have been supported by dedicated job coaches throughout their placement, helping them gain the most from their experience and fit in with busy hospital departments.
And the programme’s success means that it will take place again in the next academic year, with this year’s students will enjoy a graduation event in July.
The supported internship unites us all, and as one of the East of England’s largest employers is about ensuring everyone regardless of background or circumstance can thrive with Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust now and in the future.
“In addition to the supported interns, the Anchor Ambition project provides employment support to all unemployed people across mid and south Essex. After initially supporting more than 100 job seekers into work in the health sector in Southend, we are now supporting 298 unemployed job seekers across mid and south Essex, including 57 who, thanks to this programme, have already moved into work primarily in the health sector since February.
“It’s a great success story for everyone involved and had been recognised by local MPs and shortlisted for a Reducing Inequalities NHS Parliamentary award to be announced on 5July – the 75th birthday of the NHS.”Kevin Garrod, Anchor Programme Manager at the Trust
Read our anchor impact report to find out about other ways health and care services are contributing to their local communities economic and social development.