CAVC and Dow launch latest Project SEARCH intern programme

14 Oct 2019

Cardiff and Vale College has joined forces with Dow Silicones UK Ltd in Barry to launch a new internship programme offering invaluable career development opportunities for young people with additional learning needs.

Supported by DFN Project Search, the programme will provide 11 young people with experiences that will build their employability and personal skills. The internship programme has been developed by CAVC in conjunction with Project SEARCH, an international initiative specialising in assisted employment training and education schemes for young people with additional learning needs.
The 11 placements will be located at Dow’s Barry site. Interns will rotate across a range of functions such as laboratories, manufacturing, quality, stores, administration, IT, logistics and environmental health and safety.

With guidance from Project SEARCH, Dow has constructed a new training room and formed a dedicated team to support the interns as they navigate their theoretical training and work experience.

CAVC Head of Preparation for Work, Life and Learning Wayne Carter said: “This is an innovative collaboration providing inclusive opportunities for young people to engage in ‘real life’ work experience. The management and staff at Dow Silicones UK Ltd have fully embraced the ethos of the Project SEARCH programme, and I am sure the new interns will have a wide range of opportunities to develop their employability skills and become valuable assets to the organisation.”

Dow Country Manager for UK and Ireland John Case said: “The Project SEARCH internship programme aligns perfectly with Dow’s ambition to change the world for better, as well as our commitment to building a diverse workforce with unique perspectives and backgrounds.

“We look forward to welcoming our interns and we wish them all the best for their experience at our Barry site.”

Lily Beyer, Programme Specialist at project SEARCH, said: “Our goal at project SEARCH is to secure competitive employment for people with disabilities. We rely on the partnership with companies like Dow to provide immersive and integrated experiences that will help candidates prepare for a successful future in the workplace.

“We are excited about the launch of the Project SEARCH programme with Dow Silicones, and confident about the positive impact the experience will provide for our candidates.”

One of the intern’s parents said: “I would like to say that Project SEARCH has given my son a great opportunity when it felt like there was nothing left for him educationally. I cannot thank any of you enough.”

Another said: “I’m extremely excited for my daughter to be able to have this amazing opportunity – it sounds fantastic. Not only will she gain a lot of confidence and make new friends, she will hopefully find her dream job.”

Project SEARCH was set up in 1996 in the United States when founder Erin Riehle was frustrated in her search for employees to restock supplies at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and decided to turn her challenge into ab opportunity for people with disabilities. The initial idea to bring Project SEARCH to Dow Silicones in the UK came following a visit to Dow’s Midlands office in Michigan, where the programme has been in successful operation for the last three years.