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DFN Project Search Launches New Supported Internship Programme In Dundee

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DFN Project SEARCH (@dfnsearch), a leading charity that supports young people with learning disabilities and autism to move into work, is pleased to announce the launch of a new supported internship programme in Dundee, beginning August 2021. 

This latest DFN Project SEARCH programme will be run in partnership with NHS Tayside and Ninewells Hospital, who will be the host employer, Dundee and Angus College as the education provider and licence holder, as well as the Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership, which will provide the job training element of the programme. 

Eight young adults will have the opportunity to sign up to get involved for the first year with the interns going on to complete three 10 week work experience placements within Ninewells Hospital. 

DFN Project SEARCH works to build a more inclusive society by helping young people with learning disabilities and autism to access high quality work-related learning through immersive supported internships leading to a much improved opportunity to access long-term, full time paid employment.

Latest data from DFN Project SEARCH shows that in the past 12 months, 64 per cent of its 477 interns secured a paid job. These outcomes are well beyond the national statistics which show just 5.6 per cent of people with a learning disability or autism who are known to local authorities are in work. The national average wage for its graduates is £8.71 which is well above National Living Wage for 25+, despite the fact that the majority of graduating interns are under 23.

The charity has ambitions to get 10,000 young adults with learning disabilities and autism into full-time paid jobs over the next decade and 20,000 in the next 15 years.

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George Docherty, Director of Workforce at NHS Tayside:

“NHS Tayside is delighted to be part of the DFN Project SEARCH Dundee initiative. As an employer, we believe that extending equal opportunities to all individuals within the work environment is a core responsibility and part of our commitment to working in an inclusive way across our communities”.

Craig Strachan, Head of Curriculum and Quality for Access and Supported Education at D&A College:

“This is a great opportunity for young people with learning disabilities from across Dundee to take part in valuable work placements in a busy professional environment. For a number of years we have felt that this was something that was missing from a Supported Education point of view and we are delighted to get this partnership in place. The young people will be required to meet the expectations associated with working in a hospital and with the support of a lecturer, job coach and the key staff within Ninewells, I am sure we will see a large number of success stories coming out of this.”

DFN Project SEARCH Director and Programme Specialist, Carmel McKeogh:

“It is really exciting to be working with NHS Tayside and Ninewells Hospital for our new DFN Project SEARCH  programme Dundee. There are so many skills and opportunities for the young people to learn inside such a diverse and inclusive business. The commitment to change the life chances of young people with learning disabilities and autism in the area is shared by all the partners in this great programme and we are really looking forward to welcoming the first class of young people in August 2021.” 

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