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The Corporation

Posted: 10/08/23

Interns’ great endeavours celebrated at hospital

A local arm of a national internship programme has recently celebrated the successes and achievements of students on supported internships through West Nottinghamshire College.

  • Shaun Cross, Drew Clarke and Nathan Florence celebrated with members of Sherwood Forest Hospitals and the college
  • The Trust’s chief executive Paul Robinson attended to congratulate the interns
  • (left to right) Nathan Florence, Drew Clarke and Shaun Cross were delighted with their progress
  • Nathan was told on the day that he had secured employment at King's Mill Hospital

DFN Project SEARCH is a one-year transition to work programme for young adults with a learning disability or autism spectrum conditions, or both.

West Nottinghamshire College wholly supports this campaign and has students currently enjoying paid placements, building their skills at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, working with its contracted Medirest and Skanksa teams, as well as the Trust’s mattress decontamination team.

These individuals, Shaun Cross, Drew Clarke and Nathan Florence have all celebrated the end of their successful internships at King’s Mill Hospital, with certificates of achievements and well-deserved praise from the Trust’s chief executive Paul Robinson.

The college’s internship team, together with representatives from Medirest, Skanska and the hospital trust, spoke about the incredible journeys undertaken by the interns during their time in the various departments at the hospital.

Drew, 23, from Kirkby-in-Ashfield, began college in January this year and was uncertain of the kind of career he wanted to go into. However, he was open to suggestions, and this is when teachers explained DFN Project SEARCH to him.

He began his first rotation placement at King’s Mill Hospital working for the Medirest team, the service which provides cleaning, catering, portering, linen and security services on behalf of the hospital trust. Drew, together with a job coach, began working with the window cleaning team undertaking a very physical job.

Twenty-year-old Shaun Cross was quite nervous and shy when he started his first rotation in the Skanska stores based at King’s Mill Hospital. Shaun was supported by the job coach and after two weeks with the one-to-one support Shaun had gained the confidence to be left to work alone with his mentors Linda and Craig.

Shaun gradually built up his confidence in this role, making his own way there in a timely manner and discovering many new skills. Having support gave him the safety and security he needed to grow in confidence, personality and practical skills.

Nathan Florence, 22, had previously studied at Portland College and Inspire College.  At the start of his journey with DFN Project Search Nathan had no clear career path and was open to suggestions around the roles at the hospital so he could explore employment options in the future.

Nathan started his first rotation placement at King’s Mill Hospital in November 2022 with the support of a job coach to help him in his role as window cleaner.

Nathan progressed immensely throughout the first couple of weeks using a ‘train to fade’ system of support. He integrated well into the staff team and improved his communication skills to build professional working relationships, especially with his previous mentor and moved on to work in the laundry section of the hospital.

Nathan was presented with an extra special ‘award’ on the day, as it was announced that he had secured a permanent role at the hospital within the housekeeping team.

The college’s employability and SEND manager Louise Pilter said: “I couldn’t be prouder of Nathan, Drew and Shaun – they’ve truly excelled in so many areas during their time at the hospital. The internships have proven to be somewhat life-changing experiences for them all and it has given them goals to work towards for their future careers.

“They have represented themselves and the college impeccably throughout their periods of work across a number of areas in the hospital and everyone involved in their teaching and mentoring has noted great improvements in both their skills and their confidence. A huge well done also to Nathan in getting a job at the end of his college year!”

The hospital’s admin and audit officer for estates and facilities Jacqueline Wix said: “I am constantly looking for other areas and departments for us to be able to place the interns as the change in them through this year has been remarkable and I am so passionate and proud to be part of this programme.

“It doesn’t just impact the interns positively, it impacts everyone they work with also.”