A PROJECT to help students with learning difficulties find employment has enjoyed further success, with several of the students finding jobs as soon as they graduated.

Eight pupils from Southfield Special School, in Littler Horton, Bradford, graduated from Project SEARCH at a ceremony on Thursday, and four of them have already found work.

The project helps students develop their skills by finding them work experience placements, as well as through classroom teaching.

It is an international organisation, and for the past two years has worked with Southfield School, Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and HFT, a charity that delivers adult disability services in Bradford.

At the graduation ceremony, held at the Sovereign Lecture Theatre at Bradford Royal Infirmary, it was revealed that graduates have been offered jobs at a variety of different local businesses and organisations.

Subla Ul Haq, 21, will be working at the University of Bradford in an admin role in the HR department. Sophie Wade, 19, was offered a job at the Midland Hotel, in Bradford city centre, Charlotte Raistrick, 23, got an admin role at Southfield School and Ben Martin will work on the IT team at the Foundation Trust.

Now in its second year, the project saw interns meet Princess Anne earlier this year when she visited BRI to see how the project was working.

The graduation was attended by the interns and their families, their placement mentors, staff from Southfield School, employees and managers from Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Dominic Wall, headteacher at Southfield School, said: "We are extremely proud of the achievements of our Project SEARCH graduates, and hearing about their successes as they go out for job interviews is the most rewarding experience a teacher can have.”

Another development to the project this year was the introduction of a business advisory committee including representatives from businesses including the Midland Hotel, Barclays, Morrisons, Puddle, Bradford Council, University of Bradford, Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust and The Broadway, Bradford.

Throughout their involvement in the project, instead of attending school, students spend their final year of education based at BRI on work experience internships. They have an opportunity to try out three different roles, each of which runs for ten weeks.

Lorraine Cameron, head of equality and diversity and the business liaison for Project SEARCH at Bradford Teaching Hospitals, said: “This really is a day of celebration for the interns who have received around 900 hours of on-the-job work experience here in the hospital and in local businesses. Our particular thanks go to all of the mentors who have supported our interns to gain the skills and experience to become great employees.”

Councillor Susan Hinchliffe, executive member for education on Bradford Council, said: "I've been really impressed by the Project Search students. Having been given the opportunity to shine, they have all risen to the challenge and have grown in confidence as a result. It's great to hear their stories of success in securing further employment and training opportunities."