Project SEARCH is a one year course for students in their final year of education, enabling them to spend a year on site with an employer. This provides them with the skills, experience, knowledge and confidence to find paid employment at the end of the year. It is a programme that has been developed in Cincinnati, USA and is now successfully replicated in many states. Fosse Way School was the first school in the UK to offer the course.
During the year students learn about a variety of jobs and other employability skills, such as completing applications and having interviews. The students spend a small proportion of every day in a classroom and the rest of the day they are out working in various departments as trainees. During this time they learn the transferable skills needed within the job market. The aim of the course is employment. The course includes the ASDAN Certificate in Employability (entry level 2 to level 2), or other appropriate qualifications included in the qualifications and credit framework.
The partners working with Fosse Way School are the Royal United Hospital in Bath (employer), Bath and North East Somerset Adult Services, and Remploy (job development and job coaching).
The collaboration with the RUH gives pupils the opportunity to be supported during their introduction to the workplace, with a real prospect of gaining employment by the end of the year. From its first two years more than half the students have already found paid employment at various organisations including the RUH, Bath University and a private company.
Each year up to 12 students from B&NES and surrounding local authorities enrol on the programme. There is an equipped classroom on site at the RUH, and students are supported in the classroom by Jan Marsh, Teacher and Project SEARCH Coordinator, a job coach and staff throughout the RUH.
The project is designed to give students experience in both general and task-specific job skills. Students receive regular instruction in the workplace and are supported with independent living skills.
Pupils also learn valuable skills such as interview techniques and writing CVs, which prepares them with the skills required for the job market.
Last year 67% of pupils enrolled on the Project Search programme went on to find paid employment.