Borders College

Work underway for new Project SEARCH Interns

Eight new Project SEARCH Interns have been welcomed by NHS Borders at the Borders General Hospital this year, following the success of last year’s programme which is run in partnership with Borders College and Scottish Borders Council.

The 2017 Project SEARCH Borders College Interns outside the Borders General Hospital

Pictured left to right are: Alexander Clark, Ellis Dickinson, Euan Aikman, Chloe Fyfe, Ashleigh Cassie, Stephen McCann and Ross Gillan (Ryan Gillie not pictured).

The Interns completed a preparatory 4-day ‘summer school’ prior to their course, and began work in their first 12-week ‘rotations’ at the Borders General Hospital (BGH) in September.  This year there are two new positions available to the Interns – administrative support in Medical Records, and domestic roles.  Continuing on from last year are roles in Radiology, portering and mail room, laundry and stores.

We spent some time with the Interns themselves, finding out exactly what they think about their rotations so far, and here is what they had to say:

Ross Gillan, 2017 Borders College Project SEARCH InternKeeping Ross Gillan busy is the momentous task of getting through the hospital’s laundry load.  Ross admits that there are upsides and downsides, but he hopes to move on to a rotation in Portering so that he can become familiar with other areas within the BGH.

Ashleigh Cassie, 2017 Borders College Project SEARCH InternAshleigh Cassie is also working in the Laundry, saying: “this will be one to beat!”  Ashleigh previously carried out work experience at BreadWorks at Social Enterprises in Tweedbank as well as the Kingsmeadows in Peebles – she hopes her previous Catering experience may help her to be placed in a Catering rotation.

Ellis Dickinson, 2017 Borders College Project SEARCH InternLike Ashleigh, Ellis Dickinson previously carried out work experience at BreadWorks at Social Enterprises as well as paid employment at Kelso Golf Club, and Farne Salmon in Duns.  He also completed the Jamie Oliver cookery course at Borders College.  Ellis has enjoyed a change of pace in his current role in Stores: “My day involves a lot of walking and delivery of equipment.”

Alexander Clark, 2017 Borders College Project SEARCH InternAlexander Clark has been placed in the Ward 16 domestic cleaning team where his tasks can change on a day-to-day basis.  Alexander is happy to be receiving good feedback from his colleagues, saying: “I’m happy to try out everything.”

Euan Aikman, 2017 Borders College Project SEARCH InternEuan Aikman meanwhile is part of the Childrens’ ward domestic cleaning team which he is enjoying, but hopes to follow this up with a position in the hospital kitchens.

Stephen McCann, 2017 Borders College Project SEARCH InternStephen McCann, who is assisting the Portering team as well as working for the mail room, says he enjoys his role as it is helping him get to know other staff members.  He is keen to secure a rotation in the Radiology department.

Ryan Gillie, 2017 Borders College Project SEARCH InternRyan Gillie is an Intern in the Radiology department.  He is enjoying working within a large staff team, which has helped him to improve his self-confidence.

Chloe Fyfe, 2017 Borders College Project SEARCH InternLast but not least, Chloe Fyfe, who previously worked for Amazon in their warehouse, is currently providing administrative support to the Medical Records office which she enjoys and says she can see herself doing this as a job.  Like Stephen, Chloe would like to carry out a rotation in Radiology as she likes talking to people and thinks that type of role would be well suited to her.

All eight share the ultimate goal of finding employment following Project SEARCH.  The Interns are supported by their College Tutor Agnes McHugh and Scottish Borders Council Job Coach Jackie Shields, who both hope to build on the success of last year’s programme which resulted in 100% of the group progressing to either employment or further training and development.

Agnes said:

“We are still getting to know this year’s Interns and finding out what their individual needs are, but the group have already gelled well.  We focus on the strengths and abilities that each Intern has and, alongside the NHS staff, we support and enable the Interns to reach their full potential.”

The group have even held their first successful cake sale, raising £192.70 for NHS Borders charity ‘the difference’, with funds being donated to the Department of Medicine for the Elderly (DME) ward.

All the interns have really enjoyed their first rotations, and will soon go through a transition week (where all skills learned and areas to work on are reviewed) before moving onto their second rotations in December.  We wish the Interns the best of luck with their second rotations, and look forward to hearing more from them as they progress.

To find out more about Project SEARCH visit or you can follow the Interns’ progress on their own Facebook page.

If you are interested in applying for the Project SEARCH programme, you can find out more on the Borders College website

Applications will be welcomed from Friday 1st December 2017.

Published: Thu 30th Nov, 2017