Moorfields partnership sees first interns graduate

10 students have graduated through a collaboration between the DFN Project SEARCH and Moorfields Eye Hospital which aims to support young people with learning disabilities get back into work

graduates and staff
A partnership between Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and DFN Project SEARCH which aims to help young people with learning disabilities find full-time employment has seen its first students graduate.

The London-based hospital began working with the project in September last year by providing a one-year transition to work programme for young people with learning disabilities in their final year of school or college.

The programme is supported by Kaleidoscope Sabre, City & Islington College, London Borough of Islington Council and MoveForward, and sees students based at the eye hospital full-time. Over the course of a year, interns work in three departments and gain 800 hours of experience.

A full-time onsite teacher, as well as Job Coach employment specialists, aim to support the students in the transition from education into full-time employment.

Of the 10 students who have graduated from Moorfields, four have already secured full-time employment.

DFN Project SEARCH now has more than 60 local partnerships across the UK, with over 1000 young people with learning disabilities being supported into work already. A further 12 schemes will be established by the end of 2019.

DFN Project SEARCH director and programme specialist, Anne O’Bryan, said: “Our vision is to ensure that everyone with a learning disability or autism spectrum condition can attain high-quality employment in their local area. The partnership with Moorfields Eye Hospital is meeting this objective, bringing students competitive and transferable job skills, and the ability to achieve meaningful employment, which is truly life-changing.”

Speaking about the partnership, strategic workforce development manager at Moorfields Eye Hospital, Robert Brooks, said: “Having completed our first academic year of the programme, it’s been great to see such success so early on. Our partnership with DFN Project SEARCH has made us aspire to get even more young people with learning disabilities meaningful jobs and all of us at Moorfields Eye Hospital are proud to see our interns progress through the programme and gain confidence at work.”