University of Aberdeen: Internships offer chance for young people with learning disabilities to thrive

The DFN Project SEARCH team at the University of Aberdeen is inviting young adults with learning disabilities and their families to apply for internship opportunities and take the first steps in their journey towards employment.

The DFN Project SEARCH programme offers opportunities to get real-life work experience, training in employability and independent living skills. To date, around 80 young people who have participated in the programme at the University are in paid employment across the north-east.

The year-long programme begins in August and is open to anyone aged 16-24 with learning disabilities and/or autistic spectrum conditions who want to go on to find paid employment.

There are 12 places available for the 2022-2023 intake, with the successful applicants supported to undertake three work placements within the University while studying towards City & Guilds qualifications at North East Scotland College.

DFN Project SEARCH works to build a more inclusive society by helping to create much improved career opportunities for young adults with a learning disability, demonstrating how when given the right support, interns can truly thrive and make a huge contribution to society.

Professor Peter Edwards, Vice-Principal of Regional Engagement and Regional Recovery, said: “It has been an enormous privilege for the University to have hosted the local DFN Project SEARCH programme since 2013.

“Our interns gain skills and experience that are of huge benefit to them and the local businesses and organisations they go on to work for, supporting the continuing success of our local economy. To date, around 80 DFN Project SEARCH University of Aberdeen Interns are in paid employment across the North-East of Scotland.

Our interns gain skills and experience that are of huge benefit to them and the local businesses and organisations they go on to work for, supporting the continuing success of our local economy”
Professor Peter Edwards, Vice-Principal of Regional Engagement and Regional Recovery
“The number of young adults with a learning disability in employment at national level remains stubbornly low and the tremendous successes of our previous graduates who are now in work is a fantastic achievement that is testament to them and to the hard work, dedication and commitment of the DFN Project SEARCH team.

“We look forward to welcoming the new 2022/23 intake to campus in August as they begin their transformational journey towards entering employment.”

DFN Project SEARCH CEO Claire Cookson said: “We are very proud of our programme here based at the University of Aberdeen and are delighted to support the promotion of the 2022/23 programme.

“Our mission is to build a more inclusive society by helping to create much improved career opportunities for young adults with a learning disability.

“Our life changing programme is proven to work and we are looking forward to engaging with young adults and their families in the North-East of Scotland as we forge ahead with our goal of transforming workplace culture and building a more fair and inclusive society for all.”

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