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A project which aims to increase the number of people with learning disabilities securing employment held its annual graduation ceremony at Llys Raddington, Flintshire last week.

The ceremony celebrated the achievements of the class of 2022/23 who graduated from the DFN Project SEARCH programme – a collaborative project with ClwydAlyn Housing Association, DFN Project Search, Flintshire County Council and Hft Flintshire , which provides real-life work experience, combined with training in employability and independent-living skills, to young people with learning disabilities and/or autistic spectrum conditions who want to go on to find paid employment.

Elaine Gilbert, Executive Director of People, Communications and Marketing at ClwydAlyn, who presented the interns with their graduation certificates said:

“We are delighted to have hosted this unique programme at our Independent Living scheme, Llys Raddington this year.

“It was a real pleasure to present the certificates to show ClwydAlyn’s support for this wonderful project. We are fully committed to providing quality services for people with learning disabilities, and supported employment is a key priority.

“Everyone deserves to have the same opportunities – earning a wage, living independently and developing friendships. Project SEARCH provides skills and practical experience for young people to be ready to work and is a fantastic opportunity to support young people with a learning disability in Flintshire. I am proud we are a key partner in this programme.”
Elaine Gilbert
Executive Director of People, Communications and Marketing at ClwydAlyn

The highlight of the event was to welcome the interns Conor, Thomas, Louise, Charlotte, and Ellie to present their experiences from the programme and showcased their progress and achievements during the year.

Annie Jackson, Community Engagement Officer at ClwydAlyn said:

“I am so proud of all interns this year; they have achieved so much in a short amount of time and I wish them all the best.

“Creating an inclusive workplace where each and every person feels valued, comfortable and safe to be who they are is at the heart of ClwydAlyn. We believe that everyone should be able to access positive and fulfilling employment. We are proud to be a partner of Project SEARCH, providing young people with learning disabilities the skills, confidence, and work experience to secure future employment.

“It has been a real pleasure providing work placements for the 2023 interns and it was great to celebrate their achievements at the Graduation.”
Annie Jackson
Community Engagement Officer at ClwydAlyn

Service Manager for Disabilities at Flintshire County Council, Jo Taylor said:

“Project SEARCH is a fantastic opportunity to support young people with a learning disability in Flintshire and I am proud we are a key partner in this programme.”

Jordan Smith, Regional Manager at Hft, said:

“We are delighted of our partnership with ClwydAlyn, Flintshire County Council and DFN Project SEARCH, delivering life changing outcomes to the people we support. We have successfully run four Project SEARCH programmes since our partnership was formed in 2019. This year we have supported five amazing individuals, giving them the opportunity to learn new skills and find what roles they’d be interested in. We wish Conor, Thomas, Louise, Charlotte, Ellie and Delmar all the best in the future where I’m confident they’ll achieve their employment goals.”

Julia Hawkins, Supported Employment Manager at HFT Flintshire, said:

“On behalf of everyone at DFN Project SEARCH, I’d like to say a huge congratulations to these brilliant interns graduating this year, and thank you to all our partners for providing them with this life-changing experience. Everyone who has completed the programme has tremendous talent to offer as new employees. I’d encourage employers to invest in that talent, because I can guarantee they won’t be disappointed with the results.”

The young adults who took part in the programme, which runs in partnership with DFN Project SEARCH, Flintshire County Council, and the charity Hft, enables the interns to harness their skills and provides a space to learn and develop new skills that has aided them to go onto explore job opportunities with organisations in the local area.

The pioneering programme involves total workplace immersion at its very best, facilitating a seamless combination of classroom instruction, career exploration, and hands-on skills training.

With the largest data set in the UK, DFN Project SEARCH’s evidence-based model challenges misconceptions and changes the way society views and enables young adults with learning disabilities and autism to ensure that they reach their true and full potential.

DFN Project SEARCH works to build a more inclusive society by helping to create much improved career opportunities for those with learning disabilities and autism through 76 operational supported internships schemes across the UK and growing.

You can learn more about DFN Project SEARCH at: