Two young men with learning disabilities are celebrating the news that they have been taken on as permanent employees by Nottingham University Hospitals Trust after working hard throughout the pandemic.
Harry Ancliffe and Reece Wood, who are both from Hucknall, were taking part in a supported internship scheme called Project Search when the pandemic hit. Project Search is jointly run by Nottingham University Hospitals Trust ,the County Council’s i-work employment team and Foxwood Academy in Nottingham.
Students are supported to have work placements over the academic year, as well as following an employment curriculum. They receive support with all aspects of employment, including travel, recruitment processes, right to work documentation, applications and interviews and ongoing on-the-job support.
Their placement looked in doubt when the first lockdown began in March 2020, but Harry and Reece were employed by the hospital as agency staff during the pandemic. They put the skills they had already learned in the logistics section to good use and impressed their boss so much that they have both now been taken on as permanent full-time members of staff.
Reece, age 19, said: “Someone worked with me to learn the jobs and taught me what to do. I found that helpful. I had training to get the bus. It’s good to get paid. Working makes me feel good about myself. I felt happy about the job. I find the work easy. I like talking to my friends, getting out and meeting people.”
Harry ,age 19, said: “I feel so happy getting this job. I feel more independent. The support I’ve received has made a huge difference. It’s important to try your best, no matter how hard. It’s important to keep your manager happy.”
David Argyle, Logistics Manager for City Campus at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust, is Harry and Reece’s manager. He said: “They’re doing an absolutely fantastic job. They’ve really come out of their shell. I believe in giving people the chance to experience the job and gain confidence.
“Just because someone has a disability, I don’t believe they should be treated any differently. Project Search is a great scheme.”
Sue Batty, Service Director at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “I’m delighted that these two young men have achieved paid employment through hard work and dedication.
“This achievement is even more impressive at a time when so many others have been adversely impacted by the pandemic.
“We are committed as a Council to supporting people with disabilities into paid employment and I would like to thank our i-work team, Nottingham University Hospitals Trust and Foxwood Academy for making this opportunity possible for Harry, Reece and so many others.”
Lorraine Wood, Reece’s Mum, said: “It’s brilliant what they’ve done for him. If there was no Project Search, he would have probably gone into respite care. I would recommend Project Search to any young person with similar needs. They’re absolutely fabulous.”
Since Project Search began in 2012, 38 people have been involved in the programme and 25 of these went on to be offered paid employment.
Find out more about employment support for adults with disabilities.