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Ever wondered what is like working on the frontline in the NHS in Wales during the coronavirus pandemic? Rhys, one of Engage to Change’s participants who took part in the DFN Project SEARCH supported internship programme at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend last year, explains:

“It’s 80% like any other day with the virus, but 20% tricky because some areas you must stay away from and on some wards I must wear a face mask, which I find hard to breathe in. The public keep me going though with the clapping and make me feel happy”.

James, Tom, Luke and Rhys all graduated last June from the Engage to Change DFN Project SEARCH internship programme at the Princess of Wales Hospital and all four successfully secured permanent paid employment within the hospital at the end of their internships.

Rhys secured a position for 37 hours per week as a Pharmacy Assistant while James, Tom and Luke all have contracts for 20 hours per week within the Support Services Department.

The current Covid-19 pandemic has meant that, as key workers within the hospital, all four have been working continually to help protect our NHS and save lives.  Peter Obradovic, Employment Advisor at ELITE Supported Employment, caught up with James, Tom, Luke and Rhys recently to find out how they were coping with the situation.

Luke: “I am a little worried about Covid-19, but when I go to work I focus on my job and take the necessary precautions. I am happy about the clapping for the NHS, but I do not like being the centre of attention, so I clap inside the house”.

Tom: “Work is going really well and I’m doing a lot of overtime at the moment”.

James: “Everything is ok at work and I feel fine”.

Peter told us “I am so proud of these four young men; they have worked so hard to get where they are today and are a credit to themselves and the project. When I clap for the NHS on a Thursday evening, I clap extra hard for them as they go to work and put themselves in danger to help keep the NHS going for us all. The success of the boys through their hard work and with the help and support they have received through all the partners shows the importance of the Engage to Change Project and DFN Project SEARCH in preparing our young people for key worker positions in the world of Covid-19 and beyond”.