Project Search is a unique, one-year internship programme for students with learning disabilities and autism. Project Search finds young people aged 18-24 in their last year of education and matches their skills to roles within a business.
Students participate in three internships to explore a variety of career paths. Each student works with a team that includes their family, an instructor, job coaches and host business mentors to create an employment goal and support their transition from education to work.
The host businesses for this year’s Project Search are Dewsbury and District Hospital and Kirklees Council.
Nationally, only 5.9% of people with a learning disability who are known to local authorities go on to secure full-time, paid employment. Project Search is helping to change this by offering students an educational experience that allows them to apply their learning every day, ensuring they are ready to move into the workplace as skilled and effective employees.
The programme is creating life-changing opportunities and transforming outcomes for young people, with 60% of graduates securing a paid job of over 16 hours per week. As well as gaining transferable and marketable job skills, students also build their personal and professional relationships, confidence and self-esteem.
Speaking about his experience on Project Search, Toby, who worked in the Dermatology department at Dewsbury and District Hospital said:
“When I joined Project Search, I met lots of new people and learnt new skills. The project helped to build my confidence using public transport by providing the travel training and support I needed to confidently travel to the hospital independently. I learnt to communicate more effectively with others and hope to use my experience on the project to find a job and keep learning.”