Eight young adults with learning disabilities recently graduated from Project Search, an innovative programme by the Canterbury DHB that gives youngsters the opportunity to learn new skills and get work experience.
A very proud Logan Moloney was one of the 2020 graduates who had to endure a rollercoaster ride due to COVID-19 lockdown.
Logan’s mother Di says she was incredibly grateful to programme lead Linda Leishmann and her team for keeping them connected, “which must have been very challenging with the uncertainty and pressure they were under at Burwood Hospital”, says Di Moloney.
Project Search was launched in 2019 to follow the example of a similar successful programme in the United States.
Designed to break down barriers to employment for young people with disabilities, the programme sees each intern work across three 10-week placements in areas including IT, administration, kitchen and food services, orderly services, in the physiotherapy, spinal and older persons mental health departments, or in maintenance and stores.
Logan Moloney says he loved coming to the hospital every day.
“I enjoy the classroom time and working with the other Interns and I have made lots of friends,” says Logan who completed placements in the hospital kitchen and more recently in the physiotherapy department.
“In the kitchen I cleaned the big dishwasher, heated plates and helped with meals for patients. I put the stores away in store rooms and kept the areas tidy.”
“In Physiotherapy I worked with Karen. I am happy because I am helping people.”
“I work in the Gym and the swimming pool area. I set up the Knee class and go to the Spinal Gym to help people. I have my office to do admin and my own in-tray for my work that I do. I love working in Physio,” says Logan.
Di Moloney says she first found out about Project Search when visiting a friend in hospital and running into Hayley Butler who was part of the inaugural class of 2019.
“Hayley was in the department delivering the clean laundry. Hayley has Down syndrome and I was impressed with her confident manner and the way she spoke to us all and explained what her duties were and she told us about Project Search.”
Di says Project Search was a perfect way to transition from secondary school into a working environment.
“And you have to applaud the CDHB for taking this programme on.”
Di adds that Project Search has very high expectations of the Interns who in turn are expected to perform to the best of their ability.
“The interns have to be reliable, punctual, independent, develop appropriate social skills and have to travel to work independently. Logan is up at 6am every day, so he can be on the bus by 7am and returns at the end of the day by 5.30pm so it is a very long day.”
“Logan has grown so much in confidence this year and really enjoys going to work every day. I cannot speak highly enough of the programme.”
Canterbury DHB Chief People Officer Michael Frampton said the programme is an important initiative that’s part of Canterbury DHB’s efforts to ensure our workplaces are inclusive and that we celebrate diversity.
“Canterbury DHB is committed to creating a workforce that understands and reflects the communities we care for. Of more than 200,000 Kiwis with disabilities who are unemployed – three quarters of them want to be working, but can’t get jobs. Project SEARCH has enabled us to be part of the change we want to see.
“We’ve been able to equip our interns with real, meaningful work experience and they’ve repaid us in spades by nailing their jobs. The grit, determination and work ethic they’ve shown this year has been inspiring for everyone in our organisation.”
Canterbury DHB Project SEARCH is a collaboration between the IHC Foundation, CCS Disability Action, Low Vision and Blind NZ, Riccarton High School and WorkBridge.