East Coast College students join league of healthcare heroes amid Coronavirus pandemic


Six East Coast College students have been awarded contracts within the James Paget University Hospital amid the Covid-19 crisis.

Having been enrolled on the Project SEARCH internship programme based at the hospital, the students have each taken on valuable roles to support NHS staff. The Project SEARCH internship programme is a pioneering initiative, which supports young people with disabilities to secure paid employment.

The programme sees students combine classroom work with practical experience, with three hospital department rotations throughout the year which enables them to experience different roles, build skills and confidence and develop their career paths.

Students Sam Lowe, Christian Head and Louise Appleton have all taken on ward domestic roles, with Kane Amis working as a Waste Porter and Michael Jordan and Hayden Wright working within the hospital’s busy catering department.

Top L-R – Christian Head, Michael Jordan, Hayden Wright. Bottom L-R – Kane Amis, Louise Appleton, Sam Lowe

Reflecting on her experience of working at the hospital during the pandemic, Louise said:

“It was a bit scary at first, but I quickly got used to it. It keeps me busy, and I really enjoy getting to talk to the patients when I do their tea rounds! I really think this will help me in the future.”

Cassandra Clarke, Project SEARCH course leader at East Coast College, added:

“These students have demonstrated courage and dedication when they stepped up to meet an unprecedented challenge within the NHS. Each do their job with outstanding professionalism, care and commitment, which has left all of us involved in Project SEARCH with a feeling of intense pride and admiration for the six ECC students who have become valued members of hospital staff.”

James Paget Facilities Manager (Domestic Services) and Project SEARCH Job Coach Maria Moore, commented:

“Hayden, Michael, Kane, Sam, Christian and Louise were offered contracts based on the excellent work skills they demonstrated throughout their time on Project SEARCH. They have impressed colleagues and managers alike, with their ability to adapt to the increased pressure the COVID-19 crisis has put on all staff working in the NHS.

“They have been absolutely brilliant in their new jobs and not shied away from working in a challenging environment.  We’d like to thank each of them for their hard work and invaluable contribution to the workforce.”