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Transition-to-Work Programme

The goal for each participant is competitive employment. The programme provides real-life work experience combined with training in employability and independent-living skills to help young people make successful transitions to productive adult life.

The Project SEARCH model involves an extensive period of skills training and career exploration, innovative adaptations, long-term job coaching, and continuous feedback from instructors, job coaches and employers.

Stats and Outcomes

On average 60% of graduates achieve employment of over 16 hours per week

94% of students complete the programme

Average number of weekly hours of graduates moving into work

Average salaries for graduates who get work is above minimum wage

Gender breakdown.

DFN's 69 sites are part of a network of over 600 international programmes


Project SEARCH serves young people with learning disabilities and autism. Typically, these are young people eligible to take school or college places, however the most important criteria is a desire to achieve full time employment.

Programme Overview

Programme participants attend the programme for a full academic year on site at the host business. The site is staffed by a qualified instructor and job coaches to meet educational and training needs.

Focus is placed on intern induction, hands-on skill assessment, and familiarisation with the business environment. Interns develop a career plan, which guides the selection process and individualised job search.

Employment Skills Curriculum

Throughout the programme year, interns work on employability and functional skills. Training room activities are designed around: Team Building, Workplace Safety, Technology, Maintaining Employment, Self-Advocacy, Financial Literacy, Health and Wellness, and Preparing for Employment.


Through a series of three targeted internships the interns acquire competitive, marketable and transferable skills to enable them to apply for a related post.

The Project SEARCH staff deliver the training with host business staff to develop standard work procedures. Once interns master core skills, additional skills are added to improve job marketability.