Fourth Project SEARCH programme organised with Petroc and Pluss for young people gets underway in North Devon

Nine new interns have started work at North Devon District Hospital as part of an innovative scheme.

Project SEARCH is in its fourth year and works with Petroc and Pluss to give young people aged 18-24 a proper taste of working for the health service through three 10 week on-the-job placements.

Students with learning disabilities or an autistic spectrum condition get the chance to try a wide variety of job roles in the hospital to increase their chances of getting a job while building confidence, developing life skills and encouraging independence.

Last year’s successful interns recently celebrated their graduation at a ceremony in Barnstaple Hotel. Many are now working for Northern Devon Healthcare Trust in IT, Electro Bio Medical Equipment library and Clinical Services sterile departments. Interns are also working at the hospital’s Seamoor Unit and for Sodexo.

Dave Bridges, Project SEARCH instructor for Petroc, said: “It’s an exciting time of year at Project SEARCH. We have another talented and motivated group of interns raring to get out into the work place.”

Harry Featherstone has also just started his placement. He added: “The training so far has given me the confidence to take part in a work placement. The past two weeks have been brilliant.”

Darryn Allcorn at the trust, said: “As the largest employer in the area, we have embraced the opportunities Project SEARCH offers and are looking forward to working with our new cohort of interns, reinforcing our commitment to work-based learning and assisting individuals towards fulfilling careers and employment.”

Project SEARCH is based on a model developed in Cincinnati, Ohio and is in collaboration with Petroc – find out more at