Hounslow’s graduates celebrate success at West Thames College

Hounslow's 2023/24 DFN Project Search cohort have graduated.

Published: Monday, 1st July 2024

DFN Project Search graduates

DFN Project SEARCH is a year-long supported internship for young people with learning disabilities and/or autism and yesterday saw the graduation of the 2023/24 cohort at West Thames College.

The interns have been gaining valuable experience of the world of work at Thorpe Park, London Twickenham Stadium Hotel and Hounslow Council.

A number have already secured full time paid employment with all other graduates actively applying for permanent positions.

West Thames College, Hounslow Council, and supported employment experts Kaleidoscope provide wrap-round support for the interns including job coaching, classroom instruction and hands-on skills training in the workplace.

Over the past ten years through this initiative, Hounslow has supported over 100 young people into full-time paid employment with 78% of our graduates securing paid employment.  

Steven Forbes, Executive Director of Children's, and Adults Services at Hounslow Council commented:  “It’s always wonderful to see these young people celebrate what could be a life changing year in their lives.  Supported internships continue to play a vital role in improving employment prospects and lives in our borough.”

Debbie Robinson, CEO of Kaleidoscope said:  “The event was testament to the power of collaboration and partnership.  It was a fitting finale for the interns but also an opportunity to applaud the collective efforts of our education partner, host businesses, supported employment provider, interns’ families and the local authority as commissioners of the programme.  ”

Katrin Lehmann, Vice Principal at West Thames College added:  “We’re delighted to be part of a programme that provides such crucial employment support to local young people with learning disabilities.  The programme’s success is down to the hard work of partners, families and young people who strive to overcome significant hurdles together.”

As part of Hounslow Council’s Youth Skills and Employment Guarantee (YSEG), there are 26 supported internships available from Sept 2024.

If you’re interested in joining the 2024/2025 cohort, or are a parent carer of someone you think would benefit from this highly successful supported internship, express your interest via: projectsearch@hounslow.gov.uk

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