Renfrewshire Council

Celebrating the success of our supported internship programme

Our Project Search team welcome a new awareness day for supported interns

Megan O'Brien
Megan O'Brien, clerical assistant
Today, we are celebrating the work of our Project Search team on the first ever National Supported Internship Day.

The day is about raising awareness of the incredible impact that supported internships can have, not only for young people with a learning disability or autism spectrum condition, but also the organisations that hire them and society as a whole.

Currently, only 4.1% of the people in Scotland registered with a learning disability or autism spectrum condition, go on to secure paid employment, compared with 80% of their peers.

Our DFN Project SEARCH team is passionate about changing this, and since our programme started in 2015, more than 60% of our graduates have moved into full-time employment.

Assistant economic development manager, Michael Moran said: "I'm excited to be part of the launch of National Supported Internship Day. My hope is that it will raise awareness about the success of our programme and the benefits of taking on a supported intern.

"Our students are an untapped talent pool who continue to show the value they can bring to a more inclusive workplace. We demonstrate how young people with a learning disability, autism or both, can meet real business needs and enrich organisations by bringing with them incredible skills and talent."

Megan O'Brien completed the course in 2017 and then completed a Modern Apprenticeship, which led to her current role in the council as a clerical assistant. She shared some of her experience with us: "DFN Project SEARCH allowed me to try different placements and it has helped me realise where my strengths lie. I was given lots of support and learned it's ok to make a mistake, and there is no such thing as perfect."

The free one-year transition to work programme is delivered through our partnership with DFN Project SEARCH and Glasgow Clyde College. In recognition of their collaborative approach, the team has been recognised for living our values. You can read about the nomination and hear from the team about how they put our values into action and why this is a key driver behind their success. 

If you know of any Renfrewshire residents who are aged 17 - 29 with a learning disability or autism spectrum condition, or both, who are looking to get into paid work, please encourage them to apply to join the next intake of our successful Project SEARCH programme starting in August 2023.

If you would like to find out more about National Supported Internship Day and the work of DFN Project SEARCH nationally, check out the DFN Project SEARCH website.

Published on Monday 27 March 2023.