Thursday 27th June 2019 was a pretty special date for ELITE – it marked both the graduation ceremonies for our Project SEARCH interns in Cardiff and Bridgend! With sunny skies and soring temperatures on the day, both events saw a grand total of 19 interns graduating from their respective classes after a year-long internship programme.

The day commenced in Bridgend where the Princess of Wales Hospital played host to the first ever graduation event for Project SEARCH Bridgend. With families, friends, colleagues and high-ranking guests filling the auditorium, the ceremony began with opening speeches from ELITE Employment Advisor’s Peter Obradovic and Lauren Wayman. Following further speeches from Cardiff University’s Andrea Meek, Nigel Townsend, ELITE’s CEO Andrea Wayman and Tanya Bateman of the Hospital’s Pharmancy Department, the interns collected their certificates to a thunderous ovation. Stepping up to the podium to pass-out of class, the Project SEARCH Bridgend Class of 2019 included:

  • Rhys Harris
  • Bradley Davies
  • James Daniel
  • Olivia Newing
  • Luke Townsend
  • Tom James
  • Andrew Stephens
  • Jordan Bray

One special mention must be given to Tom James who picked up the Intern of the Year award as voted for by his fellow interns! To close out the ceremony, Bradley Davies and Olivia Newing were invited to the stage to share their experiences of the project. With the conclusion of the ceremony, the interns and those in attendance took to the atrium to enjoy refreshments while lining up for their graduation photos! The ELITE team of Peter Obradovic, Lauren Wayman and Kate Goode were present throughout alongside Bridgend College’s Phil Crockett who assisted with the educational aspect of the project.

All those in attendance at Bridgend Hospital share the spotlight with the Project SEARCH Graduates

Later that day, a few miles further East from Bridgend, saw the second graduation ceremony of the day in Cardiff. The Cardiff University Main Building played host on this occasion with ELITE’s Jamie Williams, Geraint Evans and Rebecca Lane welcoming guests into the graduation room. Kerri Ince, the Cardiff and Vale College staff member who worked alongside ELITE for the duration of the year, kicked off proceedings by highlighting the success of this year’s interns. Project SEARCH Cardiff, which is now in its third year, saw further speeches from Andrea Meek and Angela Kenvyn with various department heads giving the crowd an employer’s perspective on the internships this year. The Cardiff Class of 2019 came up one-to-one to collect their awards:

  • Louie Tissington
  • Andrew Worsey
  • Dane Griffiths
  • Alex James
  • Thomas Gregory
  • Samantha David
  • Isobel Guishard
  • MacKenzie Webber
  • Enzo Sivori
  • Tia Desmond

With MacKenzie Webber picking up the Intern of the Year Award, as voted for by her fellow interns, the ceremony closed with proud families and friends alike taking photos before throwing their graduation scrolls into the air in celebration. ELITE’s Communications Team were on hand in Cardiff to film the event which can be viewed below:

Project SEARCH is part of the wider Engage to Change project and has been running successfully in Wales for the past 3 years. The collaborative project aims to assist young adults with learning disabilities and/or an ASD. Using the resources of a local employer, educator and supported employment agency; Project SEARCH takes on interns over a year to develop their employment skills and experience in a classroom environment. Throughout the year, each intern is offered 3 internships. The two projects in Cardiff and Bridgend this year could not have been a success without the continued support of the following organisations:

From everyone at ELITE Supported Employment, we would like to wish all the Project SEARCH interns who graduation the very best of luck with the future. Thank you for being such a pleasure to support this year!