DFN Project SEARCH has recently received a £250,000 funding boost from The Robertson Trust enabling them to expand their supported internship programme across Scotland over the next five years.
The project helps young adults across Scotland with a learning disability, autism spectrum condition, or both to successfully transition from education into paid employment.
Currently only 4.1% of people with additional support needs (ASN) in Scotland secure paid employment, compared to 80% of their peers, forcing 95% to live a lifetime on benefits.
DFN Project Search, in partnership with other public, private and voluntary sectors, create supported employment internships that young people undertake during their last year of education, helping them to make positive transitions from education into work.
Courtney Bruner, DFN Project SEARCH Programme Specialist for Scotland, said: “It is imperative that we broaden the reach of our supported internship offer in Scotland to significantly improve life outcomes for our young people with learning disabilities and autism spectrum conditions across the country and to create a more inclusive Scotland for all.”
The new funding will enable DFN Project SEARCH to expand its pioneering programme across Scotland with 12 new supported internship sites to be established over the next five years.
Gillian Morton, Funding Officer at The Robertson Trust, added: “Through our Work Pathways theme, we aim to support work which improves employability services and rates for groups that are underrepresented in the labour market.
“Research has overwhelmingly highlighted the transformational impact of high quality, secure employment on wellbeing. By opening up more opportunities to those with ASN in Scotland, this programme has the potential to contribute to a more inclusive employment landscape and help more young people achieve financial, social and emotional independence.
“We are delighted to support this work and look forward to learning from DFN Project Search to build our own knowledge around positive transitions from education to work.”