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DFN Project SEARCH Looking To Recruit Programme Specialist for the West Midlands

DFN Project SEARCH, a leading transition to employment charity for young people with learning disabilities and autism, is looking to recruit a new Programme Specialist for the West Midlands and surrounding areas.

Our pioneering supported internship programme centres around total workplace immersion and offers learning at its very best. Our evidence-based model facilitates a seamless combination of classroom instruction, career exploration, and hands-on skills training.

Working in partnership with Local Authorities, Education and Business providers, we have the ambition of supporting 10,000 young adults with learning difficulties and autism into full-time paid jobs over the next decade.

Today DFN Project SEARCH has 76 internationally recognised supported internship programmes across the UK, Ireland and Iberia, and has supported over 1475 interns into full-time paid roles. On average over 60 per cent of graduates obtain full-time integrated, competitive paid employment, which is well beyond national statistics of 5.6 per cent. An additional 10 per cent find some type of paid employment, meaning the lives of 70 per cent of graduates are changed for the better.

This exciting role will involve identifying opportunities to develop and grow new DFN Project SEARCH programmes across the West Midlands whilst supporting existing sites in this region, this is with the aim of expanding the programme and growing access to DFN Project SEARCH programmes.

The Programme Specialist will be required to develop strategies to support their operational programmes to be high aiming and high achieving in terms of job outcomes for this talent pool of young adults, whilst also developing strong partnerships with colleagues throughout their area.

The ideal candidate will be educated to a degree level or relevant professional qualification, and have held a senior position in a business, the education sector, the supported employment sector or the local authority sector.

They will also bring knowledge of English regulation and funding arrangements as they relate to education, supported employment and Access to Work, and an understanding of the jobs market and employability challenges faced by young people with SEND.

Claire Cookson, CEO of DFN Project SEARCH, said:

"The young people we aim to serve – and the challenges they face - are all unique. We are looking to build a team that reflects this diversity. Our commitment to inclusion across disability, race, gender, age, class, religion, identity, and experience forms the cornerstone of our work.

"If you are driven by a desire to help young people improve their life chances and are willing to go the extra mile every day to achieve our aims, we want to hear from you. In return we can offer you a supportive working environment and the reward of working to support an incredible talent pool of young people at a critical moment in time."

For a full job description and to request an application form, email Julie Brennan at Please also reach out to Julie if you would like to arrange informal discussion about the opportunity with Claire Cookson, CEO, to discuss this role further.

  • Deadline for applications is Monday 22nd November.
  • First round interviews will be week beginning 29th November.
  • Second round interviews will be week beginning 6th December.