From education to employment

DFN Project Search Transforms Its Digital Engagement Strategy

DFN Project Search

The leading transition to employment programme for young people with learning disabilities and autism has launched a new app and website.

DFN Project SEARCH has transformed its digital engagement strategy through the launch of a new app and website. 

The app will bring enhanced two-way communication between programme partners and specialists, driving greater collaboration and inclusion with its sites.  

The digital platform will have the ability to share online training and host marketing and video content for all stakeholder engagement. Further features include a social media function, news updates, customised resources, a link to the Project SEARCH portal where data is collected, and a detailed calendar highlighting network meetings, training opportunities and key events.  

The new website will also transform the charity’s online offering, bringing a modern platform that tells the DFN Project SEARCH story and communicates effectively with young people and families, as well as its key audiences across business, education, supported employment, local authorities and Government agencies. 

The new app and website project has been developed during Lockdown, with the charity responding quickly to bring new ideas and ingenuity that has ultimately improved the way it engages with its partners and stakeholders.

Claire CooksonClaire Cookson, CEO of DFN Project SEARCH, said:

“We are very excited to be launching our new app and website as we build momentum on our ambitions to get 15,000 young adults with learning difficulties and autism into full-time paid jobs over the next decade. 

“By taking our partner communication and collaboration online, we are helping to strengthen two-way engagement and inclusion through network meetings, training programmes and virtual webinars.

“This strategic shift into the digital environment is already having a huge impact on our culture, bringing our stakeholder community together and driving collaboration to ensure that young people on DFN Project SEARCH supported internships achieve full time, integrated, competitive employment.

“In many ways we have never felt more connected as an organisation and we will continue to work collaboratively with business, educators and local and national Government to give these talented young people the opportunity to fulfil their potential.”

DFN Project SEARCH is a transition to work programme for students with learning disabilities and autism. 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. 

Today the charity has 69 internationally recognised programmes across the UK, Ireland and Iberia, and has supported over 1500 interns into work, 1300 of which meet Project SEARCH’s success criteria. This criteria means that the work is over 16 hours per week, is non seasonal, is paid the prevailing wage for the role and that the work is in an integrated setting.

On average 60 per cent of graduates obtain full-time paid employment meeting these criteria, which is well beyond national statistics of 5.9 per cent. Yet an additional 10 per cent find some type of paid employment, meaning the lives of 70 per cent of graduates are changed for the better.

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