Developed in conjunction with Cardiff & Vale College and Project SEARCH, an organisation specialising in assisted employment training and education programmes for individuals with disabilities, Dow Silicones UK Ltd’s internship programme has offered placements to 10 candidates from 23 September 2019 until 2 July 2020.
The placements are located at Dow’s Barry site, where interns will rotate across a range of functions such as laboratories, manufacturing, quality, stores, administration, IT, logistics and Environmental Health & Safety. Under the guidance of Project SEARCH, Dow has designed and constructed a dedicated training room and formed a team to support the interns as they navigate both their theoretical/classroom training, and practical work experience. The team includes a network of 26 mentors and leaders from Dow, as well as an on-site instructor and job coach from Cardiff & Vale College.
Project SEARCH was originally established in 1996 in the United States. Founder Erin Riehle was frustrated in her search for employees to restock supplies at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, until she had the inspiration to turn her challenge into an opportunity for individuals with disabilities. The programme has been successfully operating for three years at Dow’s Midland office in Michigan. Following a visit to Michigan and seeing the programme in action, Barry Site Director, Eduardo Gadea, decided to bring the programme to the UK – a resolution which has come to fruition 12 months later.
John Case, Country Manager for UK & Ireland, Dow said:
“The Project SEARCH internship programme aligns perfectly with Dow’s ambition to change the world for the better, as well as our commitment to building a diverse workforce with unique perspectives and backgrounds.”
Kim Eversham, Project SEARCH Business Liaison, Dow said:
“We’re now into our 3rd month of Project SEARCH and the programme is going from strength to strength. All Project SEARCH interns are now settled into their respective placements, performing well and developing improved professional and interpersonal skills at a rapid rate. Even at a very early stage we saw increased confidence levels, improved postures with heads held high and big smiles amongst our interns, which was great to see. They have also embraced our culture of diversity and inclusion by signing up to our Employee Resource Groups and are taking part in community events in the local area. We’re now conducting employment planning meetings with the Project SEARCH team, the interns and their families to discuss progress, areas of improvement and formulate development plans.”
Lily Beyer, Programme Specialist at Project SEARCH, said:
“Our goal at Project SEARCH is to secure competitive employment for people with disabilities. We rely on the partnership of companies like Dow to provide immersive and integrated experiences that will help candidates prepare for a successful future in the workplace. We are excited about the launch of the Project SEARCH internship programme with Dow Silicones, and confident about the positive impact the experience will provide for our candidates.”
Blog by Kim Eversham Dow Silicones UK Ltd