Project Choice Graduations

The Trust's current intake of Project Choice students have marked the completion of their internships with a graduation event at the Freeman Hospital. The event was opened by Dame Jackie Daniel; Chief Executive of the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust who presented the students with their certificates.

Project Choice graduates with Beth Gibb, Project Choice Coordinator, Dee Fawcett HR Director, Dame Jackie Daniel, Chief Executive and Lorna Harasymiuk, Project Manager

Project Choice is a supported internship and work experience scheme that is delivered for young adults with learning difficulties between the ages of 16-24.

The latest graduates are the seventh cohort of students to graduate from Project Choice and over the last seven years the scheme has hosted over 500 work placements and has supported hundreds of students to become ready to enter paid employment. Overall an 80% success rate for interns progressing into paid employment has been achieved - a fantastic result when compared to the current national figure of 7% of people with a learning disability being employed.

Mentors within the Trust provide incredible workplace support to the interns and key to the project’s success has been the combination of the interns' astonishing hard work and the unstinting support of their mentors and departmental managers.

The students demonstrate an incredible desire to learn and have a strong commitment to the project and a strong determination to succeed.

Lorna Harasymiuk Project Manager at Newcastle Hospitals said: “It has been a pleasure working with this group of students who have all worked incredibly hard to gain work skills and they have all flourished during their time with us.

"Thank you to the mentors and managers who have provided unstinting support to these young people. This project only works because of the lovely teams who support each intern to develop their work skills and confidence levels.”

As the graduation event came to a close graduate Sarah Viggor shared a poem she’d written called ‘Everyone is different.’

Everyone is different

We may act differently but we are normal people

We may be different but we have the same feelings as other humans

We may do things differently but everyone has their own way of learning

We may be different but no matter what, we are still equal to everyone else

We may be different but that is how we are if we were all the same then the world would be boring

No one is perfect

No one is normal

Everyone is different

We wish the interns all the best in their new roles!

If you are interested in joining the Project Choice Programme, please contact Lorna Harasymiuk, Project Manager lorna.harasymiuk@nuth.nhs.uk.

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