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Double helping – twin brothers shine on UHNM work placement during pandemic

Pictured: Conrad Nock (left) and Will Nock (right) are twin brothers working at the hospital during the pandemic

Twin brothers Conrad and Will Nock from Longton are both set to become hospital porters so they can help out at UHNM during the coronavirus pandemic. The 20-year-old students already have experience of the role through completion of a 12-month supported internship at Royal Stoke University Hospital. The twins applied to join bank staff at the hospital and are due to be employed by Sodexo as casual porters.

Will, who delivered patient notes to wards as part of his internship, said: “I can’t wait to work at the hospital again. I just want to go back and help out. I’ve been amazed at how much I like working at the hospital. All my buddies there were really proud of me.”

Conrad added: “It’s my dream to get a full-time job there.”

Their college joined forces with the hospital and Sodexo as part of Staffordshire’s first Project SEARCH internship programme, where 18 to 25-year-olds complete three work placements with UHNM. Roles can include catering, estates, acting as ward assistants and admin and reception work. Project SEARCH is a targeted programme of employment training and support for young people with learning disabilities and an experienced member of staff is assigned to students as a buddy while they work at their placement.

Mick Sturland, Project Search job coach, said: “We help our students gain skills so that they can find jobs at the end of their placement. Sixty per cent went on to employment in the first year.”

Conrad, who trained with the waste portering team, said: “I had to go round emptying bins and doing sharp box collections. At first, it was difficult and I had to be trained to use a map. But I’ve really enjoyed it. Before the project, I would avoid people. But now I have a laugh and have conversations. I’ve gained so much confidence being in a work environment. Depending on the need, I could be working as a street porter, in the pharmacy, pushing patients and helping other staff.”

The twins are looking forward to supporting each other as porters and stress they aren’t that competitive.