Students with special educational needs and disabilities are being enabled to start life-changing work placements with George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton thanks to a new partnership between North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC) supported by Warwickshire County Council and DFN Project SEARCH.
The DFN Project SEARCH programme will provide up to twelve interns from the local area aged between 18 and 24 with a variety of work-based learning opportunities at George Eliot Hospital alongside a daily employability programme designed to help them to secure meaningful paid employment.
DFN Project SEARCH is a pioneering transition to work programme for students with learning disabilities and autism with ambitions to get 10,000 young adults with learning disabilities and autism into full-time paid jobs over the next decade. Over 1,900 young people with learning disabilities and autism have now graduated with more than 65 per cent securing full-time paid employment through DFN Project SEARCH programmes in the UK. Typically, 75 per cent of interns secure employment against the national average of just 4.8 per cent.
Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, Principal and Chief Executive of NWSLC said, “We’re delighted to be working with George Eliot Hospital and the local authority on this fantastic project that will really help young people with special educational needs and disabilities. We believe that education changes lives and aim to provide our students with the best opportunities to progress in their careers once they complete their time with us.
“Being part of our Supported Internships programme enables students to work within a key local organisation and to develop vital employability skills and competencies in order to be successful.It is a real privilege to be part of this programme andwe look forward to seeing the interns progress, develop and achieve success in securing lifelong employment.
“NWSLC is proud to be expanding our Supported Internship programme by increasing our team of job coaches so that we can offer additional roles within the local area. Our job coaches will work with a fantastic cohort of internsalongside our dedicated new partners, supporting them to gain valuable skills, knowledge, and experiences.”
Claire Cookson, DFN Project SEARCH CEO said, “We are very proud to be launching our programme in Nuneaton with NWSLC and our other amazing new partners. We are delighted that our first cohort of interns will start soon as they are at the very start of their DFN Project SEARCH journey to obtain valuable work experience that will help to transform their lives.We can’t wait to see the fantastic work they will be doing here and have the opportunity to demonstrate how young people with autism and learning disabilities, when given the right support, can truly thrive and make a huge contribution to society.”