TWO Keighley students have graduated from a scheme which helps young adults with learning difficulties to find employment.

Mark Swinden and Aidan Knights are among the latest eight interns to complete Project SEARCH, based at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The initiative helps students develop their skills through classroom teaching and by finding them work experience placements.

During the programme – which began last September – the graduates each completed three placements in various settings, supported by job coaches and tutors.

Partners in the scheme include Southfield School in Bradford, national charity Hft, Bradford Council and the city's university.

The venture, now in its fourth year, has enjoyed huge success.

The average employment rate for people with learning difficulties is below six per cent, but for those who complete Project SEARCH it is 67 per cent.

Mark has already been offered an apprenticeship as a receptionist at the foundation trust and Aidan hopes to work in catering or retail.

A graduation ceremony was held at the trust's Sovereign Lecture Theatre.

The event was opened by trust chief executive Professor Clive Kay.

Certificates were presented by Councillor Richard Dunbar, Southfield Grange Trust chief executive Dominic Wall and foundation trust director of human resources, Pat Campbell.

Lorraine Cameron, head of equality and diversity with the trust, said: "I'm delighted that we've once again hosted this graduation ceremony.

"It's a real highlight for the trust, sharing in the achievement of the interns who have gained over 900 hours' on-the-job work experience.

"We wish them every success for the future."

Twelve new interns will join the project in September.