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Congratulations to the Project SEARCH Class of 2022!

At phs, we have a proud tradition of working with young people to help them achieve their goals.

Last year, we decided to participate in a nine-month internship programme for students with learning disabilities. This year’s internships were such a success that we are now doubling the number of places we are offering for the next round, which will start in September.

The programme is run by DFN Project Search, which is dedicated to building a workforce that includes people with disabilities. The goal of the scheme is to support young people with learning disabilities into paid full-time employment.

We’re very proud to have helped these young people up the career ladder. Participating in the scheme is another example of phs’ commitment to being an employer of choice, where social responsibility is prioritised. It’s an important part of our commitment to ESG (environmental, social and governance) considerations.

This year’s four phs interns, aged 18-25, graduated on Wednesday 22 June, after rotating around three departments over nine months at our Caerphilly office.

Three of them are now taking on roles at phs and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Thomas Gregory, from Bridgend, has been offered a temporary contract in a customer service role. Zara Jenkins from Llanharan has been offered a temporary role on reception and Lloyd Flahibe from Pencoed has been offered a full-time role as a purchase order administrator.

The fourth intern Callum Hale also completed the scheme and graduated with flying colours, and we are currently working with DFN Project SEARCH to secure a role for him closer to his home in Maesteg.

He said: “It’s been exciting to work at phs. Everyone has been so friendly and I’ve loved every minute. Getting into a work routine has been so fantastic. I didn’t ever think I could get a job with the difficulties I have, but I have proved that I can do really well and I can’t wait for the next step.'

Zara Jenkins said: “I enjoyed the internships and it really helped to have a mentor who believed in me and pushed me onwards. When I started the internship I was so shy, and scared to pick up the phone, but now I love it and I’m looking forward to working on reception because I really enjoy meeting people. I’m so proud of myself, it’s been such an emotional day.”

The group, who were all students at Bridgend College, started on the scheme in September 2021.

Supported by mentors, they completed three rotations across credit control, customer services, facilities, finance, human resources, IT and learning and development. The idea was to give them the opportunity to explore a range of opportunities and develop job skills to take forward into their chosen career.

phs Group wants to help enhance youth employment opportunities. There are plenty of opportunities and people to learn from at our company. Our team of over 3,000 staff provides washroom, floorcare, healthcare and a range of specialist services to over 120,000 customers ranging from large, single sites, to multi-national restaurant chains, healthcare establishments and small owner-occupied shops.

For many new joiners to the DFN Project Search scheme, it will be their first foray into the working world.

It is an internationally recognised programme. Its business partnerships benefit the individual, the community and the workplace. The programme was established in 1996 at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Centre to address staff turnover in entry-level support positions by actively recruiting candidates with learning disabilities. The successful model has been replicated in hospitals, banks, universities and businesses in more than 500 locations in the U.S. and over 60 sites in the U.K.

Designed as a nine-month programme, DFN Project SEARCH places interns in real-world work settings where they learn all aspects of gaining and maintaining employment. A series of three internships lasting 10-12 weeks allows interns to explore careers and develop marketable job skills. They receive support from department mentors, DFN Project SEARCH skills trainers, and worksite accommodations and adaptations. The programme offers individualised job development, which is based on the intern’s experiences, strengths, and skills.

Julie Harries, workplace learning lead for phs said: “I want to congratulate this year’s interns on their completion of the scheme and wish them well in their future careers. I’m sure those staying with us at phs will continue to be an asset to the team and I hope they stay with us for a very long time.

“We’re looking forward to working with our next set of interns, and helping them on their journey into the workforce, whether their goal is to continue to work with us or find another full-time role.”

Congratulations to all our interns, and please get in touch with us if you’d like to be considered for an internship next year.

If you are interested in a career with phs, you can find our vacancies here.


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