The DFN Project SEARCH is an internationally recognised work-led, one year Supported Internship programme for young people with Learning Disabilities and/or Autism, which actively prepares them for the world of work and supports their transition into full time, paid employment.

This evidence-based programme combines classroom instruction and hands-on skills training in the workplace. We typically increase a young person’s employability from 4.8% to 60%.

We have partnered with well-established local employers including GSK, Marriott Hotel Twickenham, Thorpe Park as well as itself to be the host businesses where interns are based during their supported internship. The council, who has commissioned the programmes, has chosen the DFN Project SEARCH model of delivery. Therefore, interns on any of the programmes offered by us are coached by Kaleidoscope Sabre, tutored by West Thames College and mentored in a structured way by the employer.


Eligibility criteria

  • Are aged 17-24

  • Have an open Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)

  • Be an independent traveller or willing to undertake travel training before the programme starts

  • Be committed to attend 1 academic year, 5 days a week between 9:00 am -3:30pm approximately everyday 

  • Are in their last year of education and want to progress into open and meaningful full-time paid employement by the end of the programme.


Current openings

We are currently recruiting for September 2024 intake. Attend an open day to learn more, meet the current interns and staff on the programme and tour the business you could be based at.

Next open day: 29th February 2024, 1:00 - 3:00 pm or 5:00 - 7:00pm at Hounslow Hounslow, Floor 6
Email us to sign up and know more about our other upcoming open days. We will be in touch closer to the date to provide more information and to make any requested adjustments.

What we offer

  • Well-rounded support package for interns
  • Develop employability related skills and quality standards in a real-life work setting
  • Work towards their City and Guilds qualification, including sessions to improve maths and english
  • Develop competitive, transferable and marketable job skills relevant to getting a full-time paid job at the end of the programme and sustaining in the future.


Contact details

Email address: projectsearch@hounslow.gov.uk
UK telephone number: 07989 348 958

Website: For more information and to apply visit the West Thames College website


DFN Project SEARCH logo

Delivered in partnership with

Thorpe Park Logo


West Thames College London LogoKaleidoscope Logo


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