Open day for young jobseekers with learning disabilities and autism

Open day for young jobseekers with learning disabilities and autism

Young people with learning disabilities or who are on the autism spectrum are being invited to an open day taking place at the University of Aberdeen on Thursday, 2 February, aimed at helping them find paid employment.

The open day, which is being held by the DFN Project SEARCH team based at the University, will take place at the Butchart Building on University Road, between 10am and 4pm.

DFN Project SEARCH is an award-winning employability programme for young people aged 16-24 with learning disabilities or who are on the autism spectrum, who are given real-life work experience combined with training in employability and independent-living skills.

Each year, it offers internships to up to 12 young people who are supported to undertake work placements within the University and with partner organisations, covering a range of roles while studying towards the City & Guilds Certificate in Employability Skills. Upon graduation, interns receive support to enter paid employment. 

Heather Crabb, who leads the University’s contribution to Project SEARCH, said it has a strong track record in helping young people into secure employment.

“This year, we are delighted to be celebrating our 10th anniversary. The initiative has been running at the University since 2013, and 68% of graduates are now in employment in the north-east of Scotland – nearly 10 times above the average employment rate for those with a learning disability who do not enter any type of post-school programme.

“Upon completion of the programme, Project SEARCH graduates have gained over 800 hours of work experience in a variety of fields and are ready to enter the workplace as confident individuals, willing and eager to make a valuable contribution.”

She added: “Our open day will give young people with learning disabilities or who are on the autism spectrum the chance to find out how Project SEARCH can help prepare them for employment, enabling them to understand the social complexities of the working world while developing sought after skills.

“We’d be delighted to welcome anyone who’s interested in finding out more to the Butchart Building on University Road on Thursday, 2 January. Our friendly team will be ready to answer any questions you have, and support will also be available to anyone wanting to complete an application form."

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