Newcastle Project Choice team

Newcastle Project Choice team

NHS Professionals

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The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals Foundation Trust – Project Choice

The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals Foundation Trust uses the Gateshead College led Project Choice initiative to offer supported internships to people with learning difficulties or disabilities, and those with autism. 

The trust HR projects team looks at entry level jobs and works with managers to ensure tasks can be clearly understood and the right learner supported into the role. 

Reasonable adjustments are made to HR processes to support students during interviews and use alternative ways to assess their skills such as progress reports from job trials.

HSJ Awards 2015 - Winner - Workforce

Managers at the trust now use Project Choice students as their first call for process-based work. Many have ideal skills for this, focusing for long periods and thriving in roles requiring accuracy. 

Staff are trained to become mentors, helping Project Choice learners with their skills as well as integrating them into the team. 

At this year’s HSJ Awards The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals Foundation Trust won the Workforce category with their outstanding Project Choice initiative.

The picture in the winners’ supplement was incorrect and did not show the winning team. HSJ apologises to Newcastle FT.

Young people spend at least 10 weeks in a placement, and are given a work plan with key targets to enable them to achieve the goal of employment. Bespoke aids are designed to assist learning, such as image lists for memory tasks.

At the point of submitting this award entry, the trust had supported over 36 interns with 77 per cent going into employment. 

Judges described the project as “exceptional” and “inspirational” and said it should be rolled out nationally. 


  • Aintree University Hospital Foundation Trust - Apprenticeship programme
  • Central Manchester University Hospitals Foundation Trust - Implementing apprenticeships at Central Manchester University Hospitals Foundation Trust
  • Derby Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust - Future proofing Derby’s emergency department workforce
  • East London Foundation Trust - Workforce: ELFT
  • Health Education East Midlands - Engaging with young people: Securing our future NHS workforce
  • Health Education East of England - Grow your own clinical pathway
  • Health Education England - Talent for care and widening participation
  • London North West Healthcare Trust - Developing the health visiting workforce through a clinical academic hub, to improve outcomes for children and families
  • Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals Foundation Trust - Workforce innovation through inspiration
  • Oxford University Hospitals Trust - The Oxford-India-Sri Lanka paediatric fellowship project: a three-way street

Newcastle upon Tyne trust scoops three HSJ Awards