An intern has become the first to land a permanent job with the trust which runs Queen's and King George Hospitals through a programme for teenagers with a learning disability or autism.

Angelina Markou is now part of the outpatients team in the clinic prep department.

She was one of seven interns who joined the Project SEARCH programme last year to get work experience, all rotating on short placements.

“All my mentors supported me through my placements,” Angelina said. “I enjoyed working with the outpatients team and am proud for getting to work in an NHS trust.”

The interns worked in different departments at King George Hospital in Goodmayes to gain experience.

Angelina got her permanent role after a placement with the clinic prep team, preparing medical records for patient appointments.

“I’ve also worked as a receptionist at the Cedar Centre and with the endoscopy team,” Angelina points out. “It’s nice to do different things.”

Her mentor was the hospital trust’s clinic prep clerk Gurtej Phull who jumped at the chance to get involved in helping the youngsters aged 17 to 19 to get placements.

He said: “Since day one, Angelina’s confidence and independence has grown — she does really good work. It’s really good for me to be someone’s mentor.”

Other interns placed during their time with the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust have placements with frontline teams as healthcare assistants.

They get support from medical staff with tasks like helping feed and spending one-on-one time with patients. The experience gives them incentives to work.

The project is in partnership with Astrum Multi Academy Trust, which runs a special school in Chadwell Heath and is supporting the hospital interns day-to-day.

The academy trust’s Hannah Goldman-Brown said: “They have felt supported and accepted working at the hospitals, with no barriers and all growing in confidence.

“The interns have been applying for roles as they come to the end of their placements. Angelina is the first to secure a permanent role.” 

The current group of interns at King George Hospital are now preparing to move on at the end of the 12-month job experience programme. A new group of interns joins in September.