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Celebrating National Supported Internship Day

Supported Internship group

27th March marks the anniversary of National Supported Internship Day (NSID), originally launched to shine a spotlight on the importance of Supported Internships. Supported Internships provide a way to empower young people with disabilities to pursue their career aspirations.

They have a transformative effect on the interns who take part. They offer real work experience combined with training in employability and independent living skills delivered in a business setting to help young people make successful transitions to productive adult life.

The theme for NSID this year is amplifying the voices of young people. Harlow College have several students who are on the Supported Internships programme, currently on placement at The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust (PAHT) in Harlow.

Frankie is a Harlow College student currently on placement in the IT Department and met with Phil Holland, Chief Information Officer at PAHT.

Frankie: “I am really enjoying my placement. The staff have taught me so much and I feel part of the Team. I would most definitely recommend a Supported Internship”

Phil Holland endorsed Frankie’s comments: “We wholly support the Supported Internship project here at PAHT, as it allows the young people to develop their skills and we are invested in supporting our community.”

Anthony Saward, Frankie’s manager at PAHT, said: “Having Frankie working in our department has added value to the team. Frankie has settled in well and grasped the work ethos.”

Tilly and Leila are currently on placement in OPAL Unit, which provides care for elderly patients.

Tilly: “I am really enjoying talking to patients and helping the OPAL staff.”

Leila “Working in OPAL Unit has really taught me how patient care works. It has given me greater independence – I now feel work ready.” 

Rhonda Williams, Supported Internship Job Coach at Harlow College, works with the learners on their placement at PAHT and knows the importance that this opportunity brings. 

“‘Supported Internships provide young people with disabilities or special educational needs, an opportunity to develop valuable skills in a real work environment.

“All of our Interns have made fantastic progress across all areas. Their knowledge, confidence and interpersonal skills have excelled.”

Sharon McNally, Chief Nurse and Deputy Chief Executive at PAHT, summed up the importance of National Supported Internship Day and why we should be celebrating it. “We need to maximise the absolute value that supported interns offer to us. Not only do they make a difference to the teams they work with but to the patients as well. Small things can make a massive difference to patients and they will be making a difference every day that they’re here to the patients that we care for, and that’s truly amazing.

“This hospital is a major employer for Harlow and the local community. We’re seen as an anchor institution and we’re absolutely responsible for the wider community, and to be able to offer opportunities to the workforce of the future is central to everything we do and will continue to do.” 

Photo: L-R: Joanne Dennis and Rhonda Williams (Supported Internship Job Coaches at Harlow College), Ancy Ninan (OPAL Unit Ward Manager at PAHT), Leila (Harlow College Supported Intern), Sharon McNally (Chief Nurse and Deputy Chief Executive at PAHT), Janice Bernardo (OPAL Unit Frailty Lead Practitioner at PAHT), Selina Avery (Assistant Academy Manager for Supported Studies at Harlow College).