Young people have been overcoming learning disabilities to gain employment at North Devon District Hospital. Nine students have graduated from the hospitals Project SEARCH scheme, which initially offers work experience placements for 18-24-year-olds. Their achievements were recognised at an awards ceremony at the Barnstaple Hotel on Thursday night. Dr Alison Diamond, chief executive of Northern Devon Healthcare Trust said: It is a huge privilege to support the students on this annual programme, each one also providing an added dimension to all the teams they rotate around with their vitality, dedication and work ethic. It is great to see how many go on to secure employment; they should all be so proud of their achievements through this year and the presentations they gave. Gail Richards, the trusts Engaging the Young Workforce Lead said to date 76 per cent of students were now in employment or on a traineeship. The students have worked extremely hard this year and have overcome many individual barriers and they should be proud of what they have all achieved, she said. The Project SEARCH scheme is based on a model developed in America and is run in partnership with Petroc and Pluss employment agency. Petroc principal Diane Dimond said: We are immensely proud to be involved in the pioneering work of Project SEARCH and have seen it grow from strength to strength over the past three years. The scheme has transformed the lives of so many of our supported learning students and were delighted to learn that, thanks to the skills learnt on the programme, many current and former students have now secured employment here in North Devon.Click here to return to our homepage for more North Devon news.