Pilot project proved just the job for Jenny

Twenty-one-year old Jenny Dimmock from Sunderland has Down’s syndrome but hasn’t let this hold her back after completing her studies as part of an innovative pilot project - Project Choice – involving a partnership between the college and the region’s hospitals.

Thanks to her training through the project, Jenny landed a permanent job working in the pathology laboratory at City of Sunderland Hospital. 

Gateshead College worked with City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust andNewcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to deliver Project Choice and ensure disabled people like Jenny gain the skills and self confidence to succeed in the workplace.

Jenny has benefitted from expert tuition and guidance from teachers who have worked in industry, gaining the personal confidence to succeed in her job in the pathology lab, where she works with a team of scientists.

She received help to improve her work and life skills in time and money management, workplace etiquette and guidance in work skills such as cleaning, administration and distributing drugs to the wards.

Jenny said: “I would like to thank the teachers for all their encouragement and support. I’m so proud of myself to have a job - I really like working and being busy.

“I have had amazing times since starting my work experience and fulfilled my ambition of getting a permanent job.”

Earlier this year Jenny had her ambition and determination to work recognised nationally, and received a prestigious NOCN Learning for Work Award. 

Kevin Marston, head of group: business and technology at Gateshead College, said: “We’re delighted with the success of the Project Choice pilot programme. This pioneering partnership with Sunderland and Newcastle hospitals aimed to break down the barriers that might prevent individuals with disabilities from achieving success and securing employment.

“Our focus was on engaging and enabling. We wanted to equip learners with important life skills and also increase their confidence to improve their chances of gaining employment and Jenny’s story shows just how much an impact the programme has had. She has worked extremely hard and we are very proud of her.

“The success of the project has been such that it provides a blueprint for other schemes and has the potential to be developed nationally following the pilot scheme, benefiting employers and people with disabilities all over the UK.”