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Project SEARCH looks for placements

A programme for young people on the autistic spectrum or with learning disabilities is seeking placements around Strathclyde.   Project SEARCH offers interns three 10-week placements around Strathclyde, to help them gain experience for work.

Robyn McNallyA programme for young people on the autistic spectrum or with learning disabilities is seeking placements around Strathclyde. Project SEARCH offers interns three 10-week placements around Strathclyde, to help them gain experience for work. They are supported by an on-site job coach and lecturer and complete a minimum of 20 hours per week in their work placements.

During their placements, they are allocated a volunteer mentor, or ‘buddy’, who supports them from day to day by allocating work and supporting them in developing their skills for employment. Project SEARCH is looking for departments to host placements for its interns. 

The programme is a partnership between Strathclyde, Glasgow Supported Employment Services – which provides the job coaches, City of Glasgow College – which provides the lecturer - and Autism Network Scotland. Siobhan Martin, Lecturer with Project SEARCH, said: “We are now in the fifth year of Project SEARCH at Strathclyde and are keen to expand our options for work placements throughout the University.

“There are three sets of placements throughout the year, beginning in September, late November or early December and late February or early March. “We are keen to hear from anyone who would be interested in hosting an intern in their department for a 10-week placement, or from any university staff members who may be interested in becoming a buddy.”

Robyn McInally took the Project Search programme in 2017-18, completing three work placements around the University, and is now a Modern Apprentice with Strathclyde’s Student Enhancement and Experience Services (SEES). Robyn had a minimum of 20 hours per week on work placement, with further time at the start and end of each day spent in class. As she has a particular interest in administration work, all her placements were in this area, with Autism Network Scotland, SEES and the Education Course Support Team.

Robyn gained positive feedback from all the departments on her attitude, strong work ethic and excellent focus and attention to detail. She enjoyed all of her placements, particularly in SEES, and took the opportunity to apply there when a post arose. Robyn said “Project SEARCH is really good.  It helped me gain confidence to talk to other people which I found difficult before. It’s also good because we got to know what a working environment is like.

 “It helps employers know that having someone on the autistic spectrum in the workplace can be good and the person may have good ideas to share with them. Project SEARCH has helped me gain more experience which led to my apprenticeship which I am enjoying.  I hope to continue to learn more skills andstay employed at the University; I would definitely recommend Project SEARCH.”

Contact Siobhan or Audrey Harrower for further information on Project SEARCH. 

7 December 2018