Relaunch of DFN project for people with learning disabilities

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH) is relaunching its supported internship programme DFN Project SEARCH.

As a large employer, NUH will work in partnership with Nottingham College and Nottinghamshire County Council to help young people with learning disabilities gain the skills they need to get meaningful, paid jobs which will impact their lives significantly.

DFN Project SEARCH programmes aim to build a more inclusive society by helping young people with learning disabilities and autism access high quality work-related learning.

These programmes are delivered through supported internships, including improved opportunities to access long-term paid employment.

DFN Project SEARCH CEO, Claire Cookson, said: “We are very proud of all our partners who we work with in delivering DFN Project SEARCH and the impact it is making to the lives of young people with learning disabilities and autism in Nottinghamshire.

“Every young person has a right to aspire to work, something that is often denied to people with learning disabilities and autism.

“The great work of our partners is an incredible commitment to ensuring quality working opportunities are available for those with learning disabilities and autism in Nottinghamshire.”

Students will attend for a full academic year on-site at the host business.

The programme will include a combination of employability skills, career exploration opportunities, and hands-on training through a series of job rotations supported by qualified job coaches.

The interns will be welcomed onto placements provided by NUH’s Estates and Facilities Team who have a previous record of supporting interns on Project Search.

Giles Matsell, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at NUH, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Nottingham College, our new education partners and Nottinghamshire County Council to support young people with learning disabilities.

"One of our shared key priorities is giving all young people the best start in life, and by signing up to this programme, we are creating opportunities for some of the most disadvantaged young people in our community and working towards a more inclusive society, addressing health inequalities through supported employment.

“For many of the young people, this could be a steppingstone into a long career with us."

Mark Johnson, Nottingham College Faculty Area Manager, said: We are pleased to announce this exciting partnership for young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) in Nottinghamshire.

"We will be welcoming ten very keen supported interns who have undertaken a comprehensive assessment and induction programme.

“They will be experiencing a number of placement opportunities throughout various departments within the city site.

"We are all passionate about transforming the life chances of our disadvantaged learners through the delivery of an offer that goes above and beyond conventional SEND provisions.

“This will ensure young people with SEND in Nottinghamshire are empowered to make the most of their potential through an employer driven opportunity, and partnership that develops the key independent living, employability and personal skills valued by us all."

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