From education to employment

DFN Project Search Continues Nationwide Growth In 2021


DFN Project SEARCH (@dfnsearch) has strengthened its position as the leading transition to employment charity for young people with learning disabilities and autism with an additional 13 new supported internship programmes created during 2021. 

The charity has ambitions to get 10,000 young adults with learning difficulties and autism into full-time paid jobs over the next decade. 

This growth shows that DFN Project SEARCH is regaining its momentum and the charity’s growth is back to pre-Pandemic levels, in 2019 13 new programmes were launched compared to five in 2020.

Over 1,475 young people have now graduated and secured full-time paid employment through DFN Project SEARCH programmes in the UK.

The pioneering programme is total workplace immersion at its very best, facilitating a seamless combination of classroom instruction, career exploration, and hands-on skills training.

The 13 new DFN Project SEARCH sites include:

  • Bristol Royal Infirmary 
  • Cardiff and the Vale University Health Board 
  • City Health Care Partnership Hull
  • Denbighshire County Council 
  • King’s College University Hospitals NHS Trust 
  • Kirklees Council 
  • Leeds Teaching Hospitals 
  • Liverpool City Council 
  • Heathrow Windsor Marriott 
  • Ninewells Hospital and Medical School 
  • PHS Caerphilly 
  • Progress Housing Group 
  • University of West London. 

DFN Project SEARCH CEO Claire Cookson said:

“We are very pleased to be making such positive progress with a further 13 supported internship programmes, strengthening the reach of our programme throughout the country.

“This nationwide growth will bring even more momentum to our ambition of transforming the lives of young people with learning disabilities and autism and will help us drive positive change in workplace culture in the UK.”

DFN Project SEARCH works to build a more inclusive society by helping to create much improved career opportunities for those with learning disabilities and autism through 76 operational supported internships schemes across the UK, Ireland and Iberia, and the charity is succeeding even in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Latest data from DFN Project SEARCH shows that, of the interns who graduated the programme in July 2020, 209 interns secured employment with an incredible 175 interns securing full-time well-paid work. DFN Project SEARCH interns secured these roles when the country was in full lockdown with many of the roles classified as key workers. 

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