YOUNG people with learning difficulties are invited to an open day at Bradford Royal Infirmary later this month to find out about work opportunities as interns.

It is open to anyone aged 18 to 25 interested in joining the hospital's 2016 intern intake to get a real taste of working life and help them learn skills to get a permanent job.

Project SEARCH is a partnership between Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Southfield Special School in Little Horton, Home Farm Trust and Bradford Council.

This is the third year the Trust has provided placements to help young people with learning difficulties secure competitive employment.

The average employment rate for people with learning difficulties is 7.7 per cent but Project SEARCH has a 70 per cent employment rate, said Ali Sholi, Project SEARCH tutor.

The latest group of young people working at BRI are aged between 17 and 23 and their roles include a painter and decorator, a gardener, a speech therapy assistant, a canteen assistant, a medical records porter, an assistant librarian and a ward hospitality assistant.

Mr Sholi said: “Getting a job is difficult at the best of times but when you have learning difficulties it makes it even harder.

"Project SEARCH bridges the gap between school and employment for these young people and equips them with real-life skills that can help them secure permanent employment after they have graduated from the project.

“The support we get from both the Trust and parents is invaluable. The new students are really rising to the challenge of their new jobs and growing in confidence day by day.”

One of the interns, Ahmad Faaraz Khan, aged 17, who works as a medical records porter, said: “I like working in a hospital because I know that everything I do in some way is making a difference to people’s lives.”

Another, Stephen Ross, also 17, who works as a painter and decorator said: “It’s good because I am learning new skills and the job is busy. I like hands on jobs and being active. I hope I can get a permanent job.”

An open house information evening for 2016 intake of students will be on Thursday, November 26, at Sovereign Lecture Theatre, Bradford Royal Infirmary, Duckworth Lane from 6pm to 7.55pm.