Caring Excelsior College student Jess Edgar is celebrating securing a place on the sought after NHS Project Choice programme, opening the door to a future career helping others.
Jess impressed an interview panel and completed a series of tasks during a competitive recruitment process as one of 12 candidates from across Newcastle to secure a year-long internship with the programme from September.
‘Project Choice’ is a supported internship programme for people with learning difficulties.
NHS Health Education England supports NHS Trusts to deliver the programme nationally with a focus on ensuring interns are work ready, matching their skills to employment needs within the NHS.
It’s a dream opportunity for Jess who is keen to pursue a career as a carer or working with nursery-aged children.
“The programme is work experience to help me train for a future job,” said Jess, 17, who was supported to apply for Project Choice by Excelsior College staff.
“It felt great to get the placement. I like caring for people and want to try and get into that line of work.”
The young learners spend a year in their internships, consisting of three placements which each span ten to 12 weeks.
In their placement they are embedded in a team. The Project Choice programme uses this time to look at any barriers and potential areas of development. Throughout their time on each placement, learners are gradually assessed on how ready they are for employment.
The scheme also incorporates a work experience element supported by the Trusts. This gives students an opportunity to develop skills for the workplace and ensures young people with learning difficulties understand the importance of matching their skill sets to work while still in education.
A minimum of 12 internships are supported annually, ensuring learners are ready for entry level roles or above. In Newcastle, 52 interns have been supported through the project, the employment transition rate currently standing at 77%.