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DFN Project SEARCH graduates celebrate success!

Project SEARCH is a 12-month internship for young education leavers with learning disabilities or autism and its primary objective is to secure competitive employment. Nationally, the unemployment rate for adults with disabilities/autism is approximately 90 per cent, Project SEARCH supports the development of skills and behaviours that support these young adults in to meaningful paid employment.

The programme is made possible through funding from Engage to Change and a collaboration between the Health Board, DFN Project Search, Grwp Llandrillo-Menai, Agoriad Cyf and Learning Disability Wales and the National Centre for Mental Health at Cardiff University. The Engage to Change project is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund in partnership with Welsh Government via the Getting Ahead 2 programmes.

Owain Williams was one of several interns to receive his certificate has now secured employment as a technician following a successful internship at Ysbyty Gwynedd.

He said: “I was very anxious about starting the internship as I really didn’t know what to expect.

“I was very nervous due to the situation with COVID but the staff made me feel extremely welcome and put me at ease by showing me how to use PPE correctly, keep socially distanced and how important it was to follow good hand hygiene.

“I immediately felt part of a team and I really enjoy coming into work every day as I knew I’d be learning new things on a daily basis and developing my skills.”

Along with Owain, interns Leam Start has also secured a post in the Health Board’s Endoscopy Decontamination Unit and Dafydd Parry now works as a bank member of staff for the health board within admin.

Members of the Project Search Team proudly displaying their certificates at this year’s graduation event

The ceremony was held at Grŵp Llandrillo Menai College’s Llangefni campus with the certificates presented to the interns by the Chief Executive of Agoriad Cyf Arthur Beechy and Assistant Principal for Grŵp Llandrillo Menai Bryn Hughes Parry.

Mr Hughes Parry said: “This unique project is an excellent example of partnership working in improving the future of our young people.”

Mandy Hughes, Workforce Modernisation Manager at Betsi Cadwaladr University said: “We are extremely proud of our Project SEARCH interns, they have worked so hard to achieve their goals. In what has been a very difficult year, this is testament to their professionalism and teamwork. We wish them every success in their future careers.”

Mr Beechy added: “This project illustrates how belief in human potential can change lives for the better.”

Top Photos:

Owain Williams (centre) receiving his certificate from Assistant Principal for Grwp Llandrillo Menai Bryn Hughes Parry (left) and Agoriad Cyf Chief Executive Arthur Beechy (right)

Leam Start (centre) receiving his certificate from Assistant Principal for Grwp Llandrillo Menai Bryn Hughes Parry (left) and Agoriad Cyf Chief Executive Arthur Beechy (right)