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Council and partners find jobs for young people

Partnership working between Waltham Forest Council’s Business, Employment and Skills team and the local community has proved fruitful for local young people, including two borough teenagers.

Ryan Jenman, who has just turned 17, took part in an innovative workplace employment scheme that has landed him a job as a Reprocessing Technician in Endoscopy for Imperial College NHS Healthcare Trust.

Ryan, who lives in Walthamstow, progressed from an intern position to full-time employment in the space of eight months. The Executive Principal of his school, who helped get him and other pupils involved in the Project SEARCH scheme expressed her joy at the outcome.

“It’s wonderful news,” said Elaine Colquhoun from Whitefield Academy. “Project SEARCH has proved to be a really innovative employment scheme and I know all of the students who embarked upon it have gained some really valuable workplace experience.”

Ryan himself said, “It has been great gaining experience and getting used to work and I have really enjoyed all the different things I have been asked to do. I feel confident that I can do really well in the post and can’t thank Project SEARCH enough for the chance they gave me.”

Five local students, aged 16 to 19, from Whitefield Academy and William Morris School took part in the Project SEARCH scheme that saw them being shown the ropes in a range of departments at Whipps Cross Hospital.

Project SEARCH is an innovative employment scheme that began in the USA and has been supported to help borough schoolchildren by Waltham Forest Council. The project gives them hands-on work experience and the chance to secure a job in the future, as Ryan has proven.

The students have spent time in various areas of the hospital including Orthodontics, Medical Engineering, Outpatients, Oral Surgery, Medical Library, Portering and Medical Records. This has allowed them to see what happens in the day-to-day running of the hospital and the jobs that are essential to keep services running.

The students all have a range of individual and often complex needs, which while catered for by their school are not always taken into account by others. This can make their quest for work experience and employment more challenging as they enter adulthood. 

For other young people interested in working in the health and social care sectors the Council’s Employment Team are currently working in partnership with Barts NHS Trust to broker work placement opportunities in a range of different areas.

“Initiatives such as Project SEARCH provide a wonderfully innovative way to help secure work for young people who need that helping hand,” said Councillor Clare Coghill, Waltham Forest Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and High Streets.

“I cannot applaud Whitefield Academy, Elaine Colquhoun and her team enough for working so hard to make this a reality. Young people’s lives will genuinely be transformed for the better.”

Local community growers Organiclea have also been working with Waltham Forest Council to help local young people to get a foot on the career ladder. Brandon O’Reilly, 19, from Leytonstone, is taking part in the Food Works programme delivered by the Council’s Employment Unit in partnership with Organiclea.

The programme offers 16-25 year olds who aren’t in education or work the opportunity to explore a career in horticulture, food retail or processing, with work tasters, accredited work experience, paid work opportunities and business start-up support.

Brandon has been running the Organiclea plant stall at Hawkwood Nursery in Chingford, as part of his paid work placement. “Hawkwood Nursery is a great place to work,” he said. “Food Works has helped me find the career I was looking for, that I really enjoy.”

Brandon is receiving ongoing careers advice via the partnership to support him towards his long term aim of undertaking an apprenticeship in horticulture.

For more information about employment and training opportunities visit and search ‘jobs and training’. For more information about Organiclea go to


  1. Brandon O’Reilly, 19, from Leytonstone, who is taking part in the Food Works programme delivered in partnership by OrganicLea with the Council’s Employment Team.

  2. Ryan Jenman, 17, from Walthamstow, who has landed himself a job as a Reprocessing Technician at Imperial College thanks to Project SEARCH.

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