Supported Internships/ Project Search

If you are interested in a supported Internship then please get in contact with Exeter college, Petroc or South Devon College for more information.

Opportunities at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (Wonford) and community sites

Exeter College has been running a Supported Internship programme in partnership with the R, D&E since September 2016. Supported Interns are all 18+, have Education, Health and Care plans that outline the areas in which they need support, and a strong desire to gain employment.

These are the areas where we have hosted a supported internship within the RDE

  • HSDU
    • working on the computer checking the code of a piece of equipment that is now no longer used.
  • Domestic services
    • Stores – picking equipment needed for the wards and delivering them to the ward cupboard
    • Cleaning in the corridors and reception areas
  • Catering
    • Patient meals – loading the trollies for the wards
    • Kitchen Porter – mainly clearing dishes and putting in the dishwasher
    • Working in the canteen cleaning tables and restocking in the TLC restaurant
    • RILD cafe
  • Estates
    • Light testing
    • Mattress testing
  • Medical records
    • Returning records to storage and picking out records for the next day
  • Radiology
    • General admin, folding and sending appointment letters.

Whilst on their internship, interns are supported by their tutor, who is also a job coach and two additional job coaches, who are all employed by the college. The job coaches support the interns to learn the tasks within their job role and are there to support the supervisors to communicate with the interns. Job coaches will model tasks and produce aids, such as picture instructions, to help the intern to learn tasks effectively.

Opportunities at North Devon District Hospital and community sites

Project SEARCH is a new scheme that gives young people aged 18-24 with learning disabilities a unique opportunity to gain work experience at NDDH is proving a great success.

Project SEARCH is based on a model developed in Cincinnati Ohio and is a collaboration between Petroc, Pluss employment agency and the Royal Devon.

Departments that have hosted Project SEARCH interns have found them to be reliable, hardworking and have had a positive effect on team morale. The interns are supported by an instructor and a job coach who are onsite and available throughout the working week.

The students arrive to work at 8.15 a.m. so they can start learning in their classroom from 08.30 – 9.00 a.m. Then from 09.00 – 2.00 p.m. they are based within the hospital actually performing tasks alongside a mentor experienced within that role and then they return to the classroom at the end of the day.

Currently, the following departments within the Royal Devon are offering learning opportunities for our students:

  • Booked Admissions
  • Bideford Hospital
  • EBME
  • Finance Department
  • Medical Records
  • Procurement Department
  • Sterile Services
  • Sodexo have offered a variety of roles within the hospital

Sodexo along with many of the departments go on to hire the interns who work with them as they demonstrate the dedication and motivation required for effective teams.

Project SEARCH is always looking to widen the opportunities on offer Project SEARCH departments to come forward and offer training opportunities for these students. If this is something that you may be able to help with, please contact Gail Richards,

project search

Project Search contact details

If you would like to know more about Project SEARCH, please feel free to contact:

Gail Richards, Training Manager and Apprentice Lead

David Bridges – 01271 322498

Case Study: Callum

Domestic Services Assistant

Case Study: Callum

Callum has a permanent paid role at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (Wonford) as a Domestic Services Assistant.

Callum was recognised in our ‘Faces Awards’ scheme, winning the category of ‘Valued Team Member’ in December 2019.

Case Study: Alex

Estates team

Case Study: Alex

Alex undertook an internship with the RDE and  is now a confident, paid member of staff within the Estates team,

Alex was recognised for his success at the Exeter College Student Awards 2020 when he won the ‘Skills for Life’ Award


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Last updated: August 30, 2022