Partnership creates new opportunities for young people with disabilities

A programme which provides paths to employment for disabled young adults has returned after a two-year hiatus during the pandemic.

Project SEARCH was launched in 2014 as a way of helping people gain employment skills and prepare for work. This year, 21 young people will be able to take forward placements, including roles with the City of Edinburgh Council and NHS Lothian.

For the first time, seven of these positions will be available with Virgin Hotels Edinburgh, which has signed up to become the programme’s first new employer in seven years.

Internships will be complemented with additional training and a ‘ready for work’ qualification from Edinburgh College.

Edinburgh council told Social Care Today that because Project SEARCH runs alongside a course with Edinburgh College, the internships are unpaid. It added that participants can also apply for an Education Maintenance Allowance and can claim certain benefits while on the programme.

person holding pencil near laptop computer

Kate Campbell, Edinburgh Council’s Housing, Homelessness and Fair Work Convener, said: ‘Our goal is that 100 percent of the people who join Project SEARCH find employment before the end of the course or quickly after graduating.

‘It’s an opportunity to support young people so that they can build confidence and learn the skills they’ll need to have fulfilling careers. But it’s also an opportunity for organisations to learn how they can become better employers, providing opportunities for young disabled people who may face additional barriers, and even more so with the pandemic.’

Rory Young, a Project SEARCH graduate who now works full time for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: ‘The Project really helped me to gain a variety of office-based work experience and increase my confidence within a workplace and I was supported with job seeking and job skills.

‘I’ve now working as a Licensing Support Assistant. I do a variety of tasks such as dealing with all mail, printing, and issuing licenses, updating licence records, and supporting colleagues who are managing applications. I’m really enjoying the job and have fitted in really well with all my colleagues.’

The Project SEARCH course has been designed to support young people to learn relevant and transferrable skills while working in a business environment. Participants will take part in three internships where they can learn new skills and improve their confidence, while gaining over 800 hours of work practice.

Photo by Scott Graham


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Help us break the news – share your information, opinion or analysis
Back to top