Family members, friends and work colleagues gathered at Johnstone Town Hall to mark the achievements of Renfrewshire’s Project SEARCH Class of 2018.
Project SEARCH started in the USA and there are now 250 programmes running worldwide, helping young people aged 17-26 with a learning disability or autism into the world of work
The Renfrewshire programme is a partnership between Renfrewshire Council and Glasgow Clyde College, with students completing work placements in a wide variety of roles across the Council and in local businesses.
Ten graduates completed the programme this year and the celebratory event included inspiring and entertaining presentations from each of the graduates, who shared their individual experiences.
This included Ross McCreadie, whose experience gained with local waste management business Weee Solutions Ltd led to a permanent post.
Hugh O’Neill, Technical Director, Weee Solutions Ltd, said: “Weee Solutions Ltd were very happy to support a Project SEARCH placement. We found it to be a very positive experience for the business, for our workforce and for Ross. We were so impressed with Ross’ work and attitude that we have offered him a permanent position and we are delighted he has accepted.”
Other graduates gained experience in diverse roles from business support at the Council headquarters to positions in local leisure centres and at care homes.
Several students have now secured permanent positions and others continue to be supported through Invest in Renfrewshire to make the step into employment.
Councillor Iain Nicolson, Renfrewshire Council Leader said: “Project SEARCH is one of the most rewarding programmes that the Council has ever delivered. Our graduates have shown a determination to learn, a commitment to work and openness to new experiences that has impressed and inspired everyone who has worked with them.
“They have become a group of friends and formed strong social and supportive bonds that have carried them through a demanding year and, I hope, will last them a lifetime.”
Jon Vincent, Principal and chief executive, Glasgow Clyde College said “We are delighted to have once again delivered this fantastic programme. Our graduates have achieved an employability qualification and a range of vocational certificates.
“Through their hard work they now have all the necessary knowledge, skills and attributes to move into work and be an asset for any organisation. I wish all of them continued success.”
The next Project SEARCH programme will begin in August 2018 with 12 new students already selected.
Programme partners are keen to extend it further with more local businesses and organisations providing work placements. Anyone interested can call 0141 618 7296 and find out more about Project Search at www.investinrenfrewshire.com