Thorpe Park DFN Project SEARCH interns strap in for the ride!

Thorpe Park is the latest business to provide supported internships for young people from Hounslow with special educational needs, through DFN Project SEARCH.

Published: Wednesday, 11th October 2023

Young people begin internship at Thorpe Park
Thorpe Park's DFN Project SEARCH interns begin their year long internship at the theme park.

DFN Project SEARCH is a one-year transition to work programme for young adults with a learning disability or autism spectrum conditions, or both, and Hounslow is one of over 100 Project SEARCH sites across the UK. The programme increases a young person’s employability from 4.8% to 60% and Hounslow Council’s programmes have regularly achieved outcomes of 70% plus into full time paid employment.


The interns will combine work-based experience at the theme park with study at West Thames College in Isleworth.


Neil Poulter, Divisional Director at Thorpe Park, said: “We are delighted to be working alongside DFN Project Search here at Thorpe Park.  Having started my Merlin career in the Guest and Park Services department at Chessington World of Adventures Resort in 2005, I then moved across to Thorpe Park in 2007 to join the Guest Services and Security team.  Later, after enjoying roles within other departments and attractions, I became Thorpe Park’s Operations Director in 2018. I strongly believe that it’s the variety of roles, training courses and experiences throughout my career that have been key in leading me into my current role of Divisional Director which I am proud to hold.  We applaud the wider aims of Hounslow’s Youth, Skills, and Employment Guarantee with its intention to remove barriers and improve outcomes for young people who currently have difficulty accessing skills, training, and employment including those with special educational needs and disability (SEND).” 


Councillor Lily Bath, Cabinet Member for Education, Children, Skills, and Employment added: “DFN Project SEARCH is a fantastic programme, and one our local young people have excelled in.  We’re delighted that Thorpe Park are on board and pledging their support to our YSEG. They join some of the biggest businesses in the borough and surrounding areas including ourselves, Brentford FC, Heathrow, JC Decaux, Marriot Hotels, University of West London, and West Thames College. The prosect of this alliance designing pathways for all our young people is extremely exciting.”



rating button