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Celebrating Learning Disability Week with Coleg Gwent Learners Completing Internship at Gwent Hospital

This Learning Disability Week, we’re celebrating nine Coleg Gwent interns who have successfully completed their course with the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board’s (ABUH) Facilities team at Nevill Hall Hospital.  

Back in September 2022, the group of interns embarked on their supported internships at the hospital through Engage to Change Gwent.  

Three days a week, the nine Independent Learning Skills (ILS) learners travelled from their Crosskeys Campus to the hospital in Abergavenny to work alongside Facilities staff in a range of different roles, including porters, cleaners, ward hostesses, Receipt & Distribution stores, admin services, and medical records. 

This is the second year Nevill Hall Hospital has been involved in the scheme, and all the staff have loved the opportunity to have the learners back.  

Facilities Supervisor Jane Roberts said, “It’s nice to know our staff have been sharing their skills with the interns and giving them the confidence that they should have”.  

The internship gives the students the chance to experience a real-world working environment, developing key employability skills that will be useful in the healthcare industry and beyond.  

As learner Shyanne Neale, who has been working with the domestic team on the wards, said “I think this internship has helped me gain a lot of skills, and some qualities and a bit of confidence in myself that could help me in the future”.  

Expanding on last year’s scheme, this year all nine interns completed two weeks of extended working hours, covering five/six-hour shifts like a normal shift for the Facilities team. 

Proving to be valuable members of the team, many of the learners have gone beyond simply shadowing the roles and have worked independently, using their own initiative to complete tasks.  

Operational Services Manager at Nevill Hall Hospital Paul Rogers said, “I can only echo what a change these students have experienced from young teenagers to responsible young adults. It’s pleasing to see their enthusiasm, along with their enjoyment for the skills they are obtaining”.  

“This term the programme really developed, and they have really blended into their roles. Due to their understanding of their roles, where practical they have worked on their own initiative”, Paul added.  

The confidence and skills the interns have developed is credit to all the Facilities staff at the hospital who have been mentoring them throughout the year.  

Porter Carl Mould said, “I’ve enjoyed working with the interns, just watching them grow and watching how their personalities have changed”.  

“All the NHS staff have embraced it – we kind of miss them [the interns] when they’re not here now”. 

Coleg Gwent ILS Lecturer Sophie Rimmer, who has been working closely with the learners all year, said "Seeing the difference in the learners over the last nine months has been amazing.

“Watching them grow as individuals and witnessing the confidence that they have all gained has made us very proud here at Coleg Gwent and Elite Supported Employment.

“The staff at Nevill Hall have been nothing short of incredible with all our learners and have given them invaluable experiences.

“We are looking forward to seeing what bright future in employment all the Interns will have", Sophie added.

With the success of this year’s course, the intention is to carry the initiative on in the next academic year and hopefully expand it to different hospitals in the Gwent area.  

The Facilities team at ABUHB look forward to helping support and share their skills with more Coleg Gwent learners in September 2023.