A new hospital-based initiative is starting in Bradford to help young people with learning disabilities into work.

Project SEARCH is being run in partnership with Bradford Teaching Hospitals, Southfield School in Little Horton and Hft, which is a national charity supporting adults with learning disabilities and Bradford Council.

It is offering one year internships to 13 young people with learning disabilities who are in their last year of school. The idea, that was originally tried out at a hospital in America, is to give them the skills they need to find work in the future.

The Bradford interns will be based full-time at Bradford Royal Infirmary and get five hours hands-on work experience and two hours teaching every day supported by a job coach and teacher.

Lorraine Cameron, head of equality and diversity at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity for young people with learning disabilities to get a real taste of what it’s like to work at our hospitals and build up their skills. It will also help us to create a culture that challenges the assumptions about the abilities and skills of people with learning disabilities.”

The interns, aged between 18 and 22, will be placed in departments throughout the hospital.

Jackie Tait, Hft director of services North West, said: “Interns will be given all the support they need from a job coach as well as support from the Council’s travel training unit who will help them as they learn to travel to and from the hospital independently.”

Southfield School headteacher Dominic Wall said: “We’ve all worked very hard to make this happen.

The new interns start at the hospital next week.