Life-Changing Project Helps People with Disabilities into Work

Glasgow Eyes Magzine 

News / Health / Glasgow / Well Being

A life-changing Glasgow partnership is helping young adults with autism and learning disabilities gain full-time, paid work.

Project Search aims to boost the job prospects of people aged 18 to 25 who may struggle to find work due to their disabilities.

Over the past six years, it has helped 74 people into full-time employment – changing their lives in the process. And a few places are still available for the next intake of the tailored-made training programmes.

Darren McCluskey hasn’t let Asperger Syndrome hold him back in life. The 22-year-old graduated from Project Search last year and now works as a catering assistant at Glasgow University. His job has given him more personal freedom and he’s thrilled to be able to use his wages to pay for his own car.

Darren from Glasgow’s West End said: “Project Search is a fantastic programme to do. It has helped me improve socially. I’m a lot more outgoing with other people now. It helped me get my job and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.

“I loved my job from the day I walked in. I love speaking to the students and hearing what they want to do with their lives. It has raised my confidence and that is crucial in life. I enjoy being in the kitchen. It is very fast paced and keeps you moving.

“I’ve got a new car which I pay for myself. It means I don’t have to rely on other people so much. I’m also looking forward to leaving home and getting a place of my own in the future.”

Project Search offers intensive work experience as well as classroom tutorials focusing on skills such as job hunting, CV writing, interview techniques and working with others.

Previous graduates of the scheme have landed jobs with employers including Glasgow City Council, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, Strathclyde University, Haggs Castle Golf Club, Mother India’s restaurants, Glasgow Clyde College and Glasgow Science Centre.

More than 20 people have successfully graduated from this year’s courses.

Kate Binner, a Job Coach with the council’s Supported Employment Service, said: “We are very proud of the 23 young people who completed Project Search this year. Eleven secured full-time employment before the end of the programme and we are optimistic that, with intensive employer engagement, most of the other talented, motivated young people in the group will be working soon.”

A few places are still available on the next Project Search programme which lasts a year and runs from Mondays – Fridays, 9am to 4pm.

Applicants must live in Glasgow, want to work full-time (over 16 hours a week), be aged 18-25 years, be able to travel independently and have a learning disability or autistic spectrum condition. Participants are expected to have excellent timekeeping and attendance. Interviews will be held in August.

The programmes are run by City of Glasgow College – based at the University of Strathclyde – and Glasgow Clyde College – based at Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

Glasgow Supported Employment Service continues to support those who have successfully completed Project Search and are still looking for their first paid job. They are holding an employers event on Thursday, August 9th, from 9am-11am in the St Mungo Museum. Attendance is by invite only. Interested businesses should email supportedemployment@glasgow.gov.uk

Further details on Project Search, including how to apply for a course, are available here and here

Glasgow Supported Employment Service is part of the city’s Health and Social Care Partnership. In Glasgow, Project Search is deliver by partners including Glasgow City Council, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Glasgow Clyde College, City of Glasgow College and Autism Network Scotland.

Caption: Darren is pictured with the car his new job has helped him buy.

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