Board member news

12 internships with Cardiff and Vale College

I’d like to tell you about an important project that the University is involved in.

We’ve just taken on 12 young interns with conditions such as autism spectrum disorder and/or learning disabilities as part of Project SEARCH, which 20 years ago was the brainchild of the Director of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Erin Riehle realised that people with disabilities would be ideal to fill some of the high-turnover, entry-level positions in her department.

Project SEARCH is now a major international project but it has never operated in Wales until now.

It’s an absolute pleasure for us to be involved and to be able to welcome Erin to the University for our celebratory event on Friday.

Our interns, final year students at Cardiff and Vale College, will spend an entire academic year here, picking up valuable skills and experience that will hopefully help them to secure a job. The project will run at the University for five years initially, so we’ll be taking on new interns after the first year.

They’re a great bunch, taking their skills and enthusiasm to different parts of the University in various roles such as laboratory, office or retail environments.

This wouldn’t be possible without Cardiff and Vale College, Elite Supported Employment Agency, Learning Disability Wales and colleagues at Cardiff University so a big thank you to everyone involved.

Lottery funding is also crucial because Learning Disability Wales was awarded £10m by the Big Lottery Fund to lead a consortium of organisations to deliver a broader project, Engage to Change, of which this is a part.