Disability charity DFN Project SEARCH has launched an internship programme in London’s Lambeth borough to give young people with learning disabilities employment-related work experience.

The programme which is open to candidates with learning disabilities including autism will be run in partnership with King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which will be the host employer. Lambeth Council and Lambeth College will be the education provider while disability support organisation Unity Works, which helps candidates gain skills and qualifications to secure employment, will provide the job coaching element of the programme.

The programme is part of DFN’s goal to get 10,000 young adults with learning disabilities and autism into full-time paid jobs over the next decade and 20,000 in the next 15 years.

So far, seven young adults have joined the new programme for the first year with the interns going on to complete three 10-week work experience placements within King’s College Hospital.

The charity, which is known for providing young people with learning disabilities with “immersive supportive internships” is a crucial support system for this group, where only 5.9% of people with special educational needs and disabilities are in permanent paid employment in the UK.

DFN Project SEARCH Programme Specialist Emma Lord said: “It is really exciting to be working with King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust for our new DFN Project SEARCH programme in Lambeth. There are so many skills and opportunities for young people to learn inside such a diverse and inclusive workplace. The commitment to change the life chances of young people with learning disabilities and autism in the area is shared by all the partners in this great programme and we are really looking forward to welcoming the interns.”

A spokesperson from Lambeth College said: “We are always delighted to play a key role in partnerships like this. Creating opportunities for young people with learning disabilities from across Lambeth is a key priority for the College. We know that delivering our Supported Internship programmes as work placements set in a busy professional environment such as at KCH provide the very best outcomes for our learners. We remain committed to extending these opportunities even further and am sure we will see a large number of success stories coming out of this important collaboration.”


In this article, you learned that:

  • Only 5.9% of people with special educational needs and disabilities are in permanent paid employment in the UK.
  • DFN’s goal is to get 10,000 young adults with learning disabilities and autism into full-time paid jobs over the next decade.
  • Unity Works is another key London-based disability support organisation to know, where they help candidates gain the skills and qualifications to secure employment.