These stories celebrate the achievements of programme participants and partners throughout the network of Project SEARCH sites. We are inspired and motivated by these examples of young people finding fulfilment, learning new skills, and getting good jobs; new programmes starting up; and awards received for innovative approaches and excellent outcomes.
Project SEARCH in the News
The DFN Charitable Foundation, founded in 2014 by David Forbes-Nixon, has announced the appointment of a new CEO as it continues its life-changing work for those with learning difficulties and disabilities.
Kevin Horne, from Norwich, joins as CEO of the DFN Charitable Foundation (‘the Foundation’) and DFN Project Search after 21 years heading a multi-million pound business services enterprise, through which he actively developed employability initiatives to support those with learning disabilities.
He will work with trustees and supporters to ensure the success of projects being carried out by the Foundation, and by its dedicated employment initiative, DFN Project SEARCH.
“The DFN Charitable Foundation is delighted to announce the appointment of Kevin Horne, who has today joined as CEO of the DFN Charitable Foundation and DFN Project Search. As CEO, Kevin will work with trustees to deliver real change in the fields of special education, most importantly improving access to employment for young people with learning difficulties, disabilities and autism. We urgently need to nudge government, both national and local, and businesses, into shifting the goalposts in favour of the young people who access DFN Project SEARCH and other internship programmes around the country.” said David Forbes Nixon, Chairman.
Nationally, the DFN Charitable Foundation’s aim is to challenge and positively influence current practice in order to enhance the lives and opportunities of young adults with learning difficulties, disabilities and autism.
It seeks to ensure full entitlement to effective training, leading to employment and a better quality of life experience.
The Foundation provides innovative employability skill strategies that support these young people, promoting greater employer engagement and increasing opportunities for sustained paid employment.
Current UK employment statistics for this vulnerable group of young people stand at less than 6%, whilst more than 75% have clearly stated that they want to work.
This statistic makes the charity’s recently conceived DFN Project SEARCH, all the more important. It delivers the UK’s largest and most effective programme for getting young people with SEND into paid employment.
DFN Project SEARCH local programmes are, on average, delivering employment rates of 66%.
The DFN Project SEARCH Programme is a franchise of Project SEARCH US which started at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in 1996. Today Project SEARCH currently has over 600 licensed programmes spanning 47 US states, 9 countries and in multiple industries.
DFN Project SEARCH currently operates in about 60 sites across England, Ireland, Portugal, Scotland and Wales in various host businesses employers, which include Hospitals, Local Authorities, Universities, Laboratories and a variety of Private Sector Businesses.
“I truly believe that these young people are capable of making a real economic and social contribution to our society if they are given the correct education, training and support which only programmes Project SEARCH currently provide.” said Kevin Horne, CEO.
“Employment helps young people value themselves and others, offering them the chance of developing greater independence. It provides opportunities to form lasting relationships and friendships.”
“Importantly, it offers the hope of becoming economically independent without the need to rely on benefits and the tremendous prize of greater personal and social independence.”
A BRADFORD hospital team has scooped a top accolade for its trail-blazing work with young people with learning difficulties.
PHE are to be awarded an AIRTO Special Recognition Award, for their exceptional work in advancement of equality, diversity and inclusion with DFN Project SEARCH to help young people with learning difficulties and autism gain meaningful employment.