Project Choice – the graduates of 2019

As we know, the NHS is one of the biggest employers in the UK. In Stockton our University Hospital of North Tees site is the largest employer in the town. Of course we do not work in isolation, we rely on solid working partnerships with many other organisations.

For just over two years, we have been delighted to partner with Project Choice – a life changing internship program for people with learning disabilities, difficulties, or autism. The program provides interns with three 12 week placements throughout the academic year.

This journey offers the individual the chance to gain valuable work experience, developing their knowledge and skills, building confidence along the way.

Last week I was delighted to attend an evening hosted by the dedicated and passionate Project Choice staff at the Arc in Stockton. The event celebrated the graduation of students who had completed the program with a host of employers across the region.

Along with colleagues, we were proud to be one of those employers in the room extending opportunity for so many individuals. Watching the students, their loved ones and colleagues take to the stage to receive their certificates was utterly wonderful to be a part of.

Our workforce echoes and celebrates diversity, and as Chief Executive for this Trust, I am all too aware of how this contributes to our continued success. Such was the positive journey for the Project Choice students at our Trust, we went on to offer permanent employment to some of them.

Working as part of a wider system, being a part of a community is what helps our organisation to flourish. We must continue to foster this positive approach to partnership working as we grow and strengthen as a CQC GOOD rated trust in Teesside.

The North East is a hot bed of talent, and we are lucky to attract so much of it to North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust. Just last week we welcomed our new junior doctors – we hope they enjoy their journey with us, and perhaps end up finding their home in our ambitious organisation.

For now – huge congratulations to the Project Choice class of 2019 in Stockton, and we look forward to celebrating the class of 2019 in Hartlepool in a couple of weeks.

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