Wakefield College - DFN Project SEARCH students featured on BBC’s The One Show
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DFN Project SEARCH students featured on BBC’s The One Show

Friday, 19 May, 2023

DFN Project SEARCH Internships Student Achievement

DFN Project SEARCH student William and his father Stephen Jones

Students on the DFN Project SEARCH programme – a partnership between the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group and the Mid Yorkshire NHS Hospitals Trust - recently appeared on BBC’s The One Show, highlighting the impact of supported internships for young adults with learning difficulties.

DFN Project SEARCH is a one-year transition to work programme for young adults with a learning disability or autism spectrum conditions, or both. It provides real life work experience combined with training in employability and independent living skills, ensuring that trainees are able to make successful transitions from school to adult life.

As part of the show, Katie and Harvey Price visited DFN Project SEARCH students Codie Belford and William Jones in their workplace at Pinderfields Hospital, in Wakefield, to find out how the programme has benefitted them.

Viewers got a glimpse of what Codie’s internship involved as a Ward Domestic, as well as William’s role as a Facilities Porter, at the Trust.

DFN Project SEARCH student Codie (left) showing Harvey Price (right) what her role involves

Katie and Harvey also spoke to Codie’s mum Kerry and William’s dad Stephen about what it was like for their children growing up and the opportunities that the programme has given them.

 DFN Project SEARCH student Codie (right) and her mum Kerri (left) talking to Katie and Harvey Price

Sam Wright, Principal and Chief Executive at the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group, said: “I’m elated that a high-profile show such as The One Show has shone a light on the DFN Project SEARCH programme and the benefits it delivers to those with learning disabilities in our communities. The scheme enables us to offer learners a path of progression where they are able to raise their aspirations and feel prepared for full-time, paid employment, following their time at College. Overall, it has created exceptional and life-changing opportunities for our learners and it’s been fantastic to witness the real-life benefits of the initiative.

“We’ve also seen some of our interns secure full-time roles or further opportunities within the Group, with the most recent student preparing to start a Level 3 Apprenticeship in our IT department,” added Sam.

Len Richards, Chief Executive Officer of Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, talking to Katie Price about the initiative

Len Richards, Chief Executive Officer of Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, comments on the impact the programme has had, saying:We’re incredibly proud of our DFN Project SEARCH scheme and its ability to give young adults, with learning difficulties, the chance to gain valuable work experience. We have adopted a tailored approach to each apprentice to ensure that their placements are matched with their skills, abilities, and interests. This enables them to develop their knowledge in a range of areas until they become fully independent in their roles. The goal for each student is for competitive employment in the community, using the skills they have acquired at our hospital.”

In addition to the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group also has DFN Project SEARCH students with retail giant Next and the ICS.

The episode aired on Thursday 18th May and can be viewed on BBC iPlayer, here.

Find out more about our DFN Project SEARCH programme here.



CONTACT: For more information email info@wakefield.ac.uk, or telephone 01924 789789.
DATE: 19 May, 2023

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