Shane is spending his final year at Cardiff and Vale College (CAVC) taking part in the DFN Project SEARCH internship programme at Cardiff University as part of the Engage to Change project. His ambition is to work in security, as he enjoys working with cameras. During his first semester internship, he very much enjoyed working in the Chemistry department and getting a taste of different aspects of work within the department, starting with administration and moving into lab work.
DFN Project SEARCH is a one-year internship programme supporting young people with additional support needs to gain the skills and experience to move into paid employment. In Wales, DFN Project SEARCH is being funded as part of the wider Engage to Change project by the Big Lottery Fund, in partnership with Welsh Government. Cardiff University is the first host employer to run DFN Project SEARCH in Wales, and one of only three universities in the UK. Twelve young people aged 16-25 have been recruited to work across the University in a laboratory, office or retail environment with the support of CAVC and ELITE Supported Employment.
Shane has been able to develop his organisational and IT skills by updating departmental spreadsheets on Excel. He has had the opportunity to visit various labs with the Health and Safety Officer to learn about carrying out health and safety inspections and recognising the appropriate safety conditions in the lab. He feels that his communication skills have improved, not only in a professional setting but talking to others in general. As a result of the experience he’s gained, he feels more confidence in himself. At the launch event for DFN Project SEARCH at Cardiff University, Shane spoke in front of a large audience about his experiences along with his fellow intern Holly. Shane is also confident that he has good timekeeping skills and has a better understanding of how to act in a professional environment. His favourite part of the day is going to lunch with his friend Shaun, a fellow DFN Project SEARCH intern who works nearby in the Biosciences department.
Every day when the interns have finished work, they return to the training room where they fill in their review forms for the day, which involves rating how the day has gone. They then engage in a group discussion about their day, addressing personal milestones and successes as well as concerns. During this time, the interns set a personal target each week, and Shane has already achieved several of these targets. For example, he has identified his daily routine and in subsequent weeks has been able to work independently using this knowledge of his daily routine. Shane enjoyed his internship so much that he would like to stay in the department in the second semester.