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DFN PROJECT SEARCH CELEBRATES OUTSTANDING UK PROGRAMMES AT ANNUAL AWARDS CEREMONY

Fifteen DFN Project SEARCH programmes across the UK have been recognised for outstanding programme outcomes, supporting even more young adults with learning disabilities into the world of work.

Over 1300 young people have now graduated and secured full-time paid employment through DFN Project SEARCH programmes in the UK.

DFN Project SEARCH CEO Claire Cookson said: “Although our annual awards ceremony has been very different for all of us this year, this hasn’t stopped us from celebrating the amazing outcomes of our programme sites and partners that is helping change the lives of young people with learning disabilities and autism and supporting individuals to find meaningful jobs.”

DFN Project SEARCH, the leading transition to employment charity for young people with learning disability and autism, is celebrating its programme’s award-winning sites at this year’s awards ceremony.

This year the annual awards ceremony was hosted virtually, recognising 15 of the charity’s sites from across the UK which received awards for outstanding programme outcomes which is helping to support even more young people with learning disabilities and autism secure meaningful jobs.

Over 1300 young people have now graduated and secured full-time paid employment through DFN Project SEARCH programmes in the UK.

DFN Project SEARCH is a transition to work programme for students with learning disabilities and autism with ambitions to get 15,000 young adults with learning difficulties and autism into full-time paid jobs over the next decade.

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 fifteen award winning sites at this year’s ceremony cover a wide range of sectors across the UK ranging from healthcare, hospitality, through to distribution and education.

Top award winners included NEXT Distribution Toftshaw achieving programme outcome of 100 per cent with all interns securing full time paid jobs after graduation, followed by Scotland’s Forth Valley Royal Hospital & Serco celebrating its 90 per cent outcome award win.

Claire Cookson, CEO of DFN Project SEARCH said: “Although our annual awards ceremony has been very different for all of us this year, this hasn’t stopped us from celebrating the amazing outcomes of our programme sites, the incredible relationships that we have with our partners and most importantly the talented interns that we serve.

“Huge congratulations to all the winners, we’ve seen some fantastic outcomes for another year running, which is a testament to everyone involved in the DFN Project SEARCH programmes across the country. Together we are transforming lives for many young people with learning disabilities and autism, helping them to be recognised as a fantastic talent for employers.”

Today the DFN Project SEARCH 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.

Full list of winners:

  1. Next Toftshaw, Bradford, England – 100%
  2. Forth Valley Royal Hospital & Serco, Larbert, Scotland – 90%
  3. St. John's Hospital, Livingston, Scotland – 89%
  4. London Heathrow Marriott, Hayes, England – 87%
  5. North Devon District Hospital, Barnstaple, England – 80%
  6. Next Distribution Ltd., Wath-Upon-Dearne, England – 80%
  7. Hilton London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5, Berkshire, England - 78%
  8. Naas General Hospital (NGH), County Kildare, Ireland – 78%
  9. GSK Global Headquarters, Brentford, England – 75%
  10. University Hospital Wishaw, Wishaw, Scotland – 75%
  11. Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, England – 73%
  12. Bath and North East Somerset Council, Bath, England – 71%
  13. St. George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, England – 71%
  14. Next Stadium, Wakefield, England – 71%
  15. Whipps Cross University Hospital, London, England – 70%