Months of hard work have paid-off for youngsters who graduated during a special ceremony.
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the College of West Anglia have been working together to put on a course to help youngsters with learning difficulties.
The hospital is one of just five NHS organisations nationally and the only one in the East of England to have made the pledge to employ people with learning difficulties.
Nine students have achieved qualifications along with picking up new skills while working in the various departments around the hospital, where they have proved to be invaluable.
A graduation ceremony was organised on Wednesday, 6 July, to celebrate their achievements when certificates were handed out by Trust Chair Edward Libbey.
He said: “It has been wonderful to have the Project Search students working with us at the hospital and I hope they have gained a lot from their time here.”
The course, which is open to students aged between 19 and 24, has been running at the hospital for several years.
During the nine-month programme, youngsters have studied for foundation qualifications in Maths and English, while also picking up vital skills to help them in the job market.
Students have also been working in departments such as reception, medical records and other areas around the Trust.
Thanks to this course, several students have gained employment at the hospital or other businesses in West Norfolk. The course will be getting a make-over in the autumn.
Associate Director of Patient Experience Claire Roberts said the course has enriched the Trust.
She said: “The students have had the opportunity of gaining the skills and confidence to be able to apply for and successfully hold down a job and we have equally benefitted from seeing how people with a learning disability can flourish and contribute to the organisation when given the opportunity to do so.
“All the students that have successfully acquired a position in the Trust after their course has finished have done so on their own merit. The staff members that have supported and mentored them have taken great pleasure in seeing them grow in confidence over the year they are with us and then succeed in finding a job either within the Trust or elsewhere in the local economy.
“The students have also helped us to understand how we can provide better support for patients that might also have a learning disability. It has helped to break down barriers as people with a learning disability are now part of the organisation and are seen as both colleagues and friends.
“The Trust is proud to be associated with the scheme and is committed to taking it forward under the new banner of the ‘Pathway project’.”
Course director Kally Sagoo said: “It has been a pleasure to watch our students grow from being quite shy to confident young people who can hold their own. Whatever they do next, they will go away from this experience oozing with confidence.”
For more information on Project Search and Foundation courses at the College of West Anglia, visit cwa.ac.uk
Pictured are: Trust Chair Edward Libbey with Project Search supporters and hospital department representatives