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The DFN Project SEARCH Supported Internship Program provides on-site practical work training at London North West University Healthcare - Northwick Park Hospital for young adults with special educational needs.

What is it?DFN Project SEARCH logo

DFN Project SEARCH is a one-year internship programme for young people with learning disabilities. It is aimed at those young people whose goal is competitive employment in the community.

It is a collaborative venture between Harrow College, Northwick Park Hospital, Kaleidoscope, Harrow Council and the West London Alliance. 

Project Search Supported Internship Program student at Northwick Park Hospital, looking up information on the computer.The course is designed to develop transferable skills, knowledge and understanding about work in readiness for paid employment. Students will develop employability, customer service, confidence, maths, English and ICT skills whilst working alongside employees in a real work setting.

Learning at the workplace will enable students to try out three different work roles, supported by the tutor, job coaches and workplace mentors.

How it works

The programme runs five days a week, for a full academic year.

Typically, interns complete three work placements between 10 – 12 weeks in length.

Those taking part will have learning disabilities and/or autistic spectrum conditions.

Interns are expected to travel independently to the workplace where possible and required to follow the NWLU Healthcare NHS Trust induction, new employee checks, Occupational Health guidelines as well as work to the Trusts visions, values and behaviours.

Benefits of the programme

Project Search Work Training Programme student at Northwick Park Hospital, looking at patient files.Interns will:

  • Participate in a rotation of tasks with a high status local employer
  • Acquire competitive, transferable and marketable job skills
  • Gain increased independence, confidence, self-esteem and friendship groups
  • Receive work-based individual instruction, coaching, support and feedback from the job coach, teacher and host business managers
  • Get the chance to improve English and maths as well as gain a Work Skills qualification.

Typical departments that are involved

Departments offering placements often include:


  • Linen and Laundry
  • Patient Dining – Pick & Pack and Ward Hosts
  • Restaurant - Catering Assistants
  • Paediatric Department
  • Medical Records
  • Estates and Facilities
  • T.S.D.U (Sterile Services)
  • Oral Surgery
  • Endoscopy
  • Medical Engineering
  • Portering
  • Physiotherapy and Outpatients Receptions
  • Main Stores, Catering Stores, Domestic Stores
  • Pharmacy
  • Dental Training Laboratory
  • Post Graduate Training and Development.

Entry requirements

We are recruiting now for our next programme in September 2024!

To participate in this programme, applicants must:

  • Be aged between 18-24 on the 31st of August 2024 and have an Education, Health and Care Plan in place.
  • Commit to a 5 day a week programme and be an independent traveller or be undertaking travel training.

To apply or to find out more please contact:

Jane Hamilton
Project Search Supported Internship Instructor
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
T: 07 82432 1333

Further resources