Project SEARCH Public Health England Colindale
The National Infection Service of Public Health England is not the first place people think about when they consider diversity and inclusion. However it is there the work towards getting young students, 18 - 24, who have a learning disability and/ or autism, into employment has started. Following the leadership of its CEO, Duncan Selbie, a team of civil servants were introduced to Project SEARCH. These are: Lynne Foster with her team of Mark Greenley and Frances Piggott. Joanna Donn, Jay Pau, Michelle Owen and Anneline Rossouw as mentors and Paul Laidler as the business liaison. In partnership with Barnet Council, West London Alliance, Barnet & Southgate College and Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, Colindale started to change the lives of ten young students and to introduce learning disabilities to a wide range of colleagues and organisations.
With a tutor, job coaches and mentors these young people are exposed to the workplace in a programme made up of 170 hrs classroom work and three ten work 'rotations' based in differing areas of the business. They are taught the mandatory training of our organisation, they work alongside other civil servants and are exposed to the work etiquette found in the organization, and they practice interview techniques and how to apply for jobs.
Why? Without programmes such as Project SEARCH the likelihood of a young person obtaining a job is about 12%, but with it this raises to 60 or 70 %. From the first students we have two who work in Microbiology media production, one an administrator, one works in a manufacturing business, one a Healthcare Assistant in a microbiology lab, one works in facilities management in a school and another in catering - From 12% to 70%.