Project SEARCH helps student find suitable job

May 21, 2021 - Martin Currie

20-year-old Sophie Conway has enjoyed this year's East Ayrshire Project SEARCH course, which helps prepare young people who have learning difficulties and/or are on the autistic spectrum for work.

College student hosts successful coffee morning.jpg
Sophie raised money through a coffee morning during a previous course

The course has been delivered a little differently this year due to the Covid-19 restrictions that are still in place.

Ordinarily, and for the new session running from August 2021, students on the course undertake three different work placements at University Hospital Crosshouse.

However, Sophie's time on the course was predominantly based online, helping her to prepare for work opportunities. A lot of time was spent helping Sophie build confidence, write a CV and prepare for any upcoming interviews.

The hard work has paid off for Sophie - who secured four job interviews following the conclusion of her course.

Sophie will start working with Irvine's Riverside Lodge Hotel on a part-time basis, as a kitchen porter.

This is the ideal situation for Sophie, who will return to the Project SEARCH course next year.

Sophie said: "I was looking for a part-time job over the summer and I'm so pleased to get this job. I've studied a Hospitality course before at Ayrshire College, which I think helped me at the interview.

"Ayrshire College and the Project SEARCH course gave me some really great advice and techniques ahead of my interviews. We made up a CV and went over possible interview questions.

"I actually managed to go to the restaurant for a face-to-face interview. I thought because of the situation it might have been online, but thankfully it was all done socially distanced at the restaurant.

"Next year I'll be working the weekends and doing college full-time. This year we did some college work at the base, but because of the lockdown we had to go online and use Microsoft Teams. It was a bit challenging, but I managed to work well with it. I'm looking forward to next year though where hopefully it'll be a bit more normal.

"I thought the Project SEARCH course would give me more experience, give me more confidence and help me be able to work as part of a team. My lecturers are very kind and helpful. They really help you if you're stuck with anything. If you have questions, they always know the answer.”

Angela Glen, Community Tutor/Employability and Engagement Officer at Ayrshire College, said: “Sophie has worked exceptionally well through a very difficult year and has participated fully in online classes and worked hard to gain the skills she required to secure employment. Sophie is a lovely, hardworking girl and we have watched her confidence grow. All of the team at DFN Project Search are delighted for her and wish her all the best in her new role.”

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