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Award for equal employment project

December 16, 2013 12:24 PM

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Project SEARCH, a national employability initiative which supports young people with learning disabilities into work, has won a prestigious award.  The project currently runs across several sites in Scotland, one of which is NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

Project SEARCH Scotland is led by the Scottish Consortium for Learning Disability (SCLD) working alongside local partners, including local authorities, third sector organisations, NHS Boards and colleges, to provide a range of educational and work placement support to young adults with learning disabilities or on the autism spectrum. 

The project also receives support nationally from the Scottish Government, who sponsored the award, the UK Department for Work and Pensions and Skills Development Scotland.

The Glasgow Project SEARCH site is delivered by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, in partnership with Glasgow City Council, Clyde College Glasgow and SCLD, and currently has 12 students in facilities roles at the Victoria Hospitals’ campus.  It was also the site visited by the judging panel as part of the evaluation process for the Scottish Project SEARCH submission. 

Members of the project attended the glittering awards ceremony in Glasgow where they won in the ‘Support to work’ category of the SURF (SURF - Scotland's Independent Regeneration Network) awards.

Each year, SURF and the Scottish Government team up to deliver the national SURF Awards for Best Practice in Community Regeneration. The purpose of the annual SURF Awards process is to:

• recognise and reward best practice and innovation in community regeneration;
• promote and disseminate best practice across Scotland as means of sharing knowledge and experience, and thereby enhancing future policy and practice;
• highlight the role that regeneration projects have in improving the wellbeing of individuals and communities.

Margaret Burgess MSP, Minister for Housing and Welfare presented the award and congratulated them on their success.

Andrew Robertson, Chairman of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said: “I wish to pass on my congratulations to Project SEARCH students for all their hard work and to our staff who help support our students in their day-today roles. This is a fantastic accolade and each person involved in the project should be rightly proud.”

Since the launch of Project SEARCH in September 2013 the 12 students have been learning different work skills in a variety of jobs while also having daily classroom learning. Students have been supported by ‘work buddies’ who are members of staff who have volunteered to help and support them in addition to the support from their line managers.

Councillor Malcolm Cunning, Glasgow City Council's Executive Member for Social Care, said: "Improving employment opportunities for people with disabilities is a core aim of the council and so I am very pleased that the good work of Project Search has been recognised. The award is a tribute to all involved and I hope that all the students who come on to the project go on to greater success in the future."

The real strength of Project SEARCH is in its partnership working which is vital to bringing about successful job outcomes for the young people involved in the programme, which is currently achieving a success rate of 70 per cent.  Maura Lynch, SCLD’s Depute CEO, who leads the Project SEARCH Scotland work at SCLD said:

“It's been a tremendous team effort by SCLD and all our Project SEARCH partners, employers and training providers.  We are very fortunate to work with such committed people who, like us, want to make a better life for young people with a learning disability. Sustainable employment transforms lives and we hope this award will persuade more employers across the public, private and third sectors to join us.”

Margaret Gilroy, Director of Access and Continuing Learning, said: “Project Search provides much needed work experience for learners with additional support needs and shows them that there are employment prospects out there. Everyone involved in this wonderful project is delighted to have won the SURF support to work award.”

The students are part of a 5000-strong facilities workforce and have been working in catering, portering and domestic services in a range of patient environments including outpatients, care of the elderly and general medical at the Victoria Infirmary.


Notes to editors

Project SEARCH was originally developed at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in America. Since then, Project SEARCH has grown from a single program site in Cincinnati to more than 200 sites across the United States and Canada, England, Scotland, and Australia.

The project receives national funding from the Scottish Government and is supported locally by a range of public, private and third sector partners. For more information on Project SEARCH go to

The Scottish Consortium for Learning Disability (SCLD) is a charity that is made up of 12
Partner organisations who have joined together, with funding from The Scottish
Government, to help people make the changes that were set out in ‘The same as you?’

The SURF Best Practice in Community Regeneration Awards are organised and hosted by SURF Scotland’s Independent Regeneration Network.  For more information go to:

For more information and photos of the launch contact the press office, telephone:  0141 201 4429 or email:  [email protected]
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Last Updated: 11 November 2021