A jobseeker diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of six has told how landing a role at the Roman Baths through a special mentoring scheme has ‘given him purpose’ and had ‘a huge impact on his life’.
Determined Daniel Kimmins, 20, spent two years as a child in hospital. He grew up with learning difficulties, hearing loss and reduced stamina, which made him concerned about getting work.
But the former student of Ralph Allen School, who gained A levels in Sports BTEC and Photography, turned to the Project Search programme for help getting a foot on the career ladder.
Now he is working as a Host Experience Porter at the Roman Baths tourist attraction, which has now reopened after closing during lockdown.
His main duties include collecting audio guides, directing visitors, taking the audio guides to put them on charge and answering any questions.
Daniel, from Odd Down, said: “Project Search has changed my life by giving me the opportunity to gain experience by working in different environments.
“It has given me confidence and allowed me to become more independent and get a job!
“Without Project Search, I wouldn’t have come this far. It’s made a big difference.”
Each year Bath & North East Somerset Council provides internships for 18-24 year- olds with learning disabilities.
During their time at the council, the interns receive on-site tutoring from Bath College and Job Coach support from Virgin Care.
The partners also work with local organisations to help interns find vacancies and apply for jobs.
Throughout his journey, Daniel was supported by his Virgin Care job coach Sarah Tremelling.
Virgin Care offer their support by providing job coaching to interns and working with them throughout their programme, and afterwards when it comes to helping them secure employment.
Coaching includes job searching and matching, interview practice and learning how to maintain employment.
Sarah said: “Daniel is now a valued member of the Roman Baths workforce after attending the Project SEARCH Employability Programme, which gave him the skills and confidence to be ready to seek, gain and maintain paid employment.
“I met Dan in January 2019, over a period of time I have observed and supported him to develop many skills, and most importantly he is very happy to work and now has purpose, independence, a regular income, routine and a social life.”
Heidi Kimmins, Daniel’s mother had not heard of Project Search until they had seen it set up at a job fair in Bath.
She said: “Project Search in my opinion should be rolled out to all students leaving education.
“It is such a simple idea that works incredibly well and gives the students experience and confidence in the workplace.
“I have seen Daniel’s confidence grow throughout his time at Project Search and this has continued into his employment. He also has gained more independence by going out with his fellow students and work colleagues.”
Councillor Dine Romero, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, added: “We’re are incredibly proud of our Project Search graduates.
“It really is a fantastic way to experience the world of work while developing employability skills.
“At a time when the average employment rate in the UK for adults with a learning difficulty or disability has dropped to just six per cent, it’s essential we provide opportunities like this to help more young people find sustainable employment.
“The council is one of the earliest and most established business hosts for a Project SEARCH programme in the UK and the council recognises the need for programmes like this to continue to support those at a competitive disadvantage.”