- Project Choice - supported internships for 16 to 24 year olds - Camden Rise

News and blogs
News and blogs

Project Choice - supported internships for 16 to 24 year olds

Camden Council is working with the Royal Free Hospital and Project Choice to deliver a supported internship programme for young people aged 16 to 24 with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

The programme aims to empower young people with SEND and build their confidence in the workplace, while also offering life experience beyond their home and school environment. 

Who can apply? The Project Choice internship is for 16 to 24 year olds with learning difficulties, disabilities and/or autism. There are no academic requirements to sign up but the young person will need to have an aspiration to work and a current education, health and care plan (EHCP) in place. Project Choice will need to be named in their EHCP, so parents or carers will need to liaise with their Assessment and Case Co-ordinator at Camden Council's SEN Team.

How do you apply? Please email linda.selby@hee.nhs.uk or projectchoice@hee.nhs.uk to express your interest in applying. You can read more about the Project Choice programme in this booklet here.

How long does the internship last? The internship comprises up to three placements of 10 to 12 weeks each, throughout the academic year. Students who successfully complete their internship will leave the college with an employability qualification accredited by NCFE - and, where appropriate, a maths and English qualification at a level higher than previously achieved.

What support is provided? Interns are supported by a Workplace Mentor, Project Co-ordinator and a Project Manager.

What kind of work experience roles are available to interns? The Project Choice Supported Internship is delivered within NHS organisations, the independent sector and private business. Project Choice Interns have provided valuable assistance in a huge variety of roles, including care, pharmacy, clinical coding, human resources, information services, education, grounds maintenance, reception / front desk, domestic services, catering, postrooms and central stores.

What does a typical week look like for a Project Choice Intern? Interns spend up to four days per week in work, with one day in the classroom. In the classroom, interns learn about the world of work and develop employability skills, as well as having study time to improve their maths and English.
 
How are staff trained to support interns? 
Project Choice training for organisations and staff involved ranges from mentor training, mental health first aid and autism awareness to training in systematic instruction and job coaching. Project Choice also uses job coaches where interns need extra support. The college employs specialist tutors directly. An ESFA-approved curriculum, and all education provision is subject to Ofsted inspection and DfE regulations. In January 2020, Project Choice was awarded a 'Good Provider' rating by Ofsted.
 
What support is available at the end of the internship? Project Choice staff continue to support interns following completion of their internship. Sustaining employment is key, and we are committed to helping interns to achieve their goals. This support includes pastoral support, professional support in meetings (e.g. appraisals, occupational health, etc) and coaching preparation for progression interviews.
 
Testimonials
“Project Choice has made me have hope and also it gave me an idea of what I want to do when I leave the course.” - Project Choice Intern.
 
“I feel like an adult. I have travelled to work independently, done my job and travelled home independently – just like the other workers.  I’m so proud of myself, I want to keep working.” - Project Choice Intern.
 
“The Project Choice Team have gone the extra mile to help him, and I can’t thank the programme enough for helping him make steps to increase his chances of not just having a job, but of reaping all of the benefits that having a job can bring.” - Parent / Carer.
 
“The student we have worked with fitted into the office atmosphere with ease. It was a great experience for both us and for him too. It was a pleasure to see his confidence grow as he became more involved in the day to day operations.” - Employer.