Students with additional needs and autism embark on ‘life-changing’ employment programme

Nine students from our Learning for Living and Work Department, which supports students with additional needs, are gaining vital work-based learning opportunities in various roles at Barnsley Hospital thanks to a new scheme.

The students’ participation in the DFN’s Project Search programme came as a result of collaborative work by the College, Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Barnsley Council.

“The number of young adults with learning disabilities in employment is shockingly low. I’m pleased that we will be able to make our own contribution to help address that, and I really hope that some of the interns will be able to find jobs with us as well as other local employers.”

The academic year-long programme is designed to equip participants with transferable skills in order to secure meaningful, long-term employment.

Stacey Greenman, Learning for Living and Work Programme Manager at Barnsley College, said: “I believe education changes lives, and we aim to provide our students with the best opportunities to progress into Further or Higher Education, training or employment after their time with us.

“The opportunities provided for our young people with special educational needs at the hospital so far have been fantastic. It is such a supportive environment where they are flourishing and learning transferable skills, preparing them for work.”

One of the students, Corey O’Brien, attended Greenacre School before joining the department and has said he loves his current role at the hospital.

Corey said: “In the future I would like to get paid work, ideally in portering as the team are friendly and hard-working and the job is varied.

“I have been welcomed as part of the team in my first few weeks and I feel this would be a great area to work in if roles become available.

“I enjoy working as part of the team I am in, and portering would be the ideal role for me and my skills as I enjoy hands on active work.”

Richard Jenkins, Chief Executive of Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, added: “We’re all very excited to welcome these fantastic young people to our business and to help them develop their skills and confidence.

“The number of young adults with learning disabilities in employment is shockingly low. I’m pleased that we will be able to make our own contribution to help address that, and I really hope that some of the interns will be able to find jobs with us as well as other local employers.

“That way, the business community will benefit from the development of this untapped talent pool.”

Last updated: 18th November 2022

Originally posted on: 18th November 2022