Barnsley health and education partners welcome talented youngsters to life-changing scheme

Young people with learning difficulties and autism have been enrolled onto a new transition into employment programme by Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Barnsley College and Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council.

Nine young people aged 17 to 24 are gaining vital work-based learning opportunities and experience in a number of different roles with Barnsley Hospital, in partnership with DFN Project Search, to help them secure meaningful long-term paid employment.

The interns, who are students of Barnsley College’s Learning for Living and Work Department which supports students with additional needs, will be given extensive training and be taught competitive, transferable skills as part of the programme, whilst being given an employability curriculum to develop these skills.

Chief Executive, Richard Jenkins for Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust: “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.”

Cllr Robert Frost, Cabinet Spokesperson for Regeneration and Culture, said: “It’s great to hear about the partnership working that has gone into this project to open new opportunities for people with learning difficulties and autism. It shows how we are working with anchor organisations like the hospital to ensure we have an inclusive economy in Barnsley.

“There are many benefits to work; it provides people with a renewed sense of purpose and belonging, supports good health and helps connect people. Through these types of projects more people can unlock the benefits of work, regardless of their background or starting point.”

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.”

DFN Project SEARCH CEO Claire Cookson said: “We are very proud to be launching our programme here in Barnsley. We can’t wait to see how when given the right support, young people with autism and learning disabilities can truly thrive and make a huge contribution to society.”

You can learn more about DFN Project SEARCH at https://www.dfnprojectsearch.org/