Our Work Experience
NHS England (which we are part of as of 1st April 2023) – NHS England provides national leadership for the NHS. Through the NHS Long Term Plan, we promote high quality health and care for all, and support NHS organisations to work in partnership to deliver better outcomes for our patients and communities, at the best possible value for taxpayers and to continuously improve the NHS. We are working to make the NHS an employer of excellence and to enable NHS patients to benefit from world-leading research, innovation and technology.
To deliver the NHS Long Term Plan, NHS England will balance national direction with local autonomy to secure the best outcomes for patients.
Through our seven integrated regional teams, NHS England supports local integrated care systems (ICS), made up of public services that provide health and care – NHS organisations, primary care professionals, local councils, social care providers and the community, voluntary and social enterprise sector – to improve the health of the population, improve the quality of care, tackle inequalities and deliver care more efficiently.
Visit our website for more information: https://www.hee.nhs.uk/our-work/project-choice-supported-internships
About Our Work Experience
Project Choice is a specialist post-16 College supported internship programme that helps young adults between the ages of 16-24 who are autistic and/or have a learning disability gain work experience and improve their employability and independence skills.
The national college is hosted by NHS England and provides internships both within NHS and private organisations, creating supported environments and helping to get Interns ready for the working world.
The support is tailored to each Intern and placements are matched to each Intern’s skills, abilities and needs. The Interns spend 1-year learning work skills in three placements and each placement is up to 12 weeks long.
Interns spend 4 days per week in placement and 1 day in the classroom studying employability skills, as well as studying functional skills maths and English.
The programme is rolled out nationally over 19 cohort areas and we are continually expanding each year.
Additionally to the supported internship element of the programme, our stage 1 provision also host work experience placements for students still in school, organising 6 week, half day placements for students who are considering transitioning onto a supported internship. We also offer a tailored package of Preparing for Adulthood sessions to schools and colleges – looking at CV writing, interview skills, pay slips and budgeting etc – to get young people thinking about their future career ambitions, and as a gentle transition and extension to their mainstream education.
During the pandemic Project Choice partnered with Springpod to create online work experience modules for students to complete in preparation for face to face placement learning. This has now lead expanding our online learning to include more complex learning tutorials for all students to participate in.
The team at Project Choice advocate for the needs of the individual, and recognise that learners require differentiation and adapted techniques to embed learning in both the classroom and in the work environment in order to allow the individual to reach their potential.
Connor – Transport, Queen Elizabeth Hospital | Gateshead’s Work Experience Wonder!
Connor commenced stage 1 work experience in February 2022 aged just 17 whilst still attending school in Gateshead.
Project Choice Stage 1 Work Experience programme is usually 6 weeks in placement for 1 half day per week, but after impressing his mentors and expressing his enthusiasm for the placement, it was agreed that he would continue for up to 3 months as it was identified there were still skills and experience he could continue to gain.
The placement took place within Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s Facilities Team; this transport department takes care of all patient transport services, vehicle maintenance & hospital warehouse storage.
Connor was able to learn how to take care of vehicles including valeting and jet washing patient transport ambulances and all the hospital vehicles. He also assisted in the warehouse by taking in deliveries, loading vehicles, and learning the routines of stock control.
Within the placement Connor demonstrated a willingness to try all tasks given to him and learned valuable teamwork and practical skills.
During regular progress reviews with Project Choice, Connor’s manager reported how pleased he was with Connor’s progress, and asked regional Work Experience lead Laura Kane if it would be possible to offer Connor paid employment.
Connor was due to leave school in July 2022 and did not feel he wanted to pursue any further classroom education. Connor accepted the offer of paid employment and began working 20 hours a week in August 2022.
Laura continued to work closely with Connor’s employer to make sure the transition from work experience to employment was smooth and that he had all the support he needed to feel confident and settled in his new role.
Connor has gone from strength to strength in his new career, and now he is in a position at times to mentor new Stage 1 Work Experience students on placement in the hospital.
Connor’s mentor and Deputy Head of Transport Nev said; ‘‘Connor is a brilliant hard worker and there is not one day he doesn’t come in and greet all the staff with and smile and a “good morning”. He has become one of our team and it’s a pleasure to work with him’’
Connor told us ‘‘Project choice has helped me achieve my dream. Without the support from Laura and the team I work with I wouldn’t have been able to achieve this. I now earn my own money and feel very independent – I have made my family very proud’’.