Project SEARCH University of Aberdeen is a collaboration between the University of Aberdeen, Inspire (Partnership Through Life) and North East Scotland College, operated under a licence from the Scottish Commission for Learning Disabilities (SCLD) and funded by Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils. It is based on an international model that originated in the USA and provides preparation for employment to young people with disabilities through a mix of education and work experience placements.

The programme supports a cohort of up to twelve Interns in undertaking 3 Internships (work placements) over a one year academic period of study. The Interns are supported to attain vocational qualifications (City & Guilds Certificate in Employability Skills) and upon the conclusion of the programme, receive support to source and sustain paid employment.

The Internships and core curriculum have been tailored to meet the needs of the local business community following discussion and engagement with employers through recent ‘Meet the Interns’ and other networking events. This has enabled us to ensure that upon graduation, our Interns are ready to undertake roles in areas of recognised skill shortages and those where it has proven difficult to recruit and/or retain staff.

Project SEARCH University of Aberdeen was the first University site for such a programme in the UK and is currently one of only five non-hospital based sites in Scotland.

Successful Internships have been embedded in the following areas across the University:

  • Estates
  • Student Life
  • Library, Special Collections & Museums
  • Finance & IT
  • Cruickshank Botanic Garden
  • Human Resources
  • Music
  • Catering Service
  • Maintenance Department

A number of external Internships have also taken place in partnership with local organisations, including Aberdeen Sports Village, NHS Grampian and Glencraft.