Project Choice is a supported internship programme for young people aged 16-24 years with learning disabilities/difficulties and/or autism within the Trust.
Project Choice is a supported internship programme for young people aged 16-24 years with learning disabilities/difficulties and/or autism run within the Trust. The project is designed to support young people to enhance their strengths in the labour market, and with support, develop key employability skills.
The programme consists of 3 work placements (over 4 days per week), alongside a programme of study to achieve a work skills qualification (1 day per week). Each placement spans 10-12 weeks to which the intern is embedded in the placement team. The Project Choice team uses this time to look at any barriers and potential areas of development. Throughout, the learners are gradually assessed on how ready for employment they are.
In addition, the programme offers training to staff to become work-based mentors, working alongside and supporting learners. Over 500 staff have been trained to support LDDA, developing unique teaching techniques and skills, which can be transferred across the organisation.
The scheme also incorporates a work experience element supported by the Trust. This gives students who are still in a school setting an opportunity to develop skills for the workplace and ensures young people with LDDA understand the importance of matching their skill sets to work while still in education. This offer is half day per week, over a 6 week period for young people within a school setting aged 16 to 19 years.
A minimum of 12 internships are supported annually, ensuring learners are ready for entry level roles or above. We have supported 72 interns through this project and the employment transition rate currently stands at 82% which compares to a national average of 7% of people with disabilities being in paid employment.
We have employed 26 of these previous project choice interns in roles such as sterile service technicians, laundry assistants, catering assistants, domestic assistants and clerical officers.
Intern, Trust Sterile Services Unit
“I love my job. I work hard and no one wants me to leave. I dreamed of getting a paid job here during my placement and now I have!”
“I feel like an adult. I have travelled to work independently, done my job and travelled home independently – just like the other workers. I’m so proud of myself, I want to keep working"
... their families and mentors said...
Morag (parent of Intern)
"The difference in Jack is enormous, he is proud and excited to go to work. He has a purpose and it has transformed his life"
"I look forward to my mentoring day on a Tuesday morning, Project choice students make my day feel meaningful and puts a spring in my step.”