Young people with learning disabilities and autism have successfully secured jobs at south Essex hospitals through a supported internship programme.

Five interns who started their journey across Basildon, Southend and Broomfield hospitals last year, are being celebrated as part of Learning Disability Week after successfully landing roles including positions in care, housekeeping and portering.

The programme, which is now in its second year, is a collaboration between Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, colleges South Essex College and Chelmsford College and Essex County Council.

New - Caitlin King from South Essex CollegeNew - Caitlin King from South Essex College (Image: Mid and South Essex NHS Trust) Through this programme, the interns gain valuable skills for their career prospects while also supporting hospital departments.

Among them is Caitlin King, from South Essex College, who has been offered a healthcare assistant role at Basildon Hospital.

“I am excited to start my new role and am looking forward to the future,” she said.

“I really enjoyed my time as with the Supported Internship. It helped me get a job I always wanted.”

Housekeeper - Colin BrownHousekeeper - Colin Brown (Image: Mid and South Essex NHS Trust) With dedicated support from a job coach and ward staff during her training, Caitlin developed a strong understanding of the role and successfully clinched the job.

Colin Brown, from Chelmsford College, made a great impression on the hospital team he was part of during the programme, which earned him a position as a housekeeper.

Luis Williams, also from Chelmsford College, secured a role as a pharmacy porter at Broomfield Hospital thanks to his exceptional commitment and strong work ethic.

Pharmacy porter - Luis WilliamsPharmacy porter - Luis Williams (Image: Mid and South Essex NHS Trust)

Rob Brunger, associate director of human resources and head of inclusion and engagement at the Trust said: “It is delightful to see the success of the young people who have secured roles with us, but more importantly how they have grown and developed as people since they started on the programme.

“The success of the programme will always be measured by how many of the interns secure employment at the Trust but that is only part of the story.

“The life-skills and confidence gained by the young people since they started the programme is where the true value of the scheme is evident”.

Each year, the third week of June is Learning Disability Week, which aims to highlight the stories of individuals with learning disabilities. This year's theme is "Do you see me?" which is all about being seen, heard and valued.