Project SEARCH

Project Search logo

University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust is proud to be the host employer partner in Project SEARCH, a supported internship model that supports young adults with learning disabilities to gain mainstream paid employment. 

The other partners are: Pluss who provide supported employment services and City College Plymouth who provide the educational element. 

Project SEARCH started in the USA in the mid 1990’s and now has sites throughout the world. Project SEARCH  Derriford is seen as an example of best practice and is a multi-award winning project. 

The partners support young adults aged 18 to 24 with learning disabilities to experience working life and to learn the skills needed to gain and keep paid work. 

This is achieved by students engaging in three internships within Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, where they gain practical experience working alongside NHS professionals. 

In addition to the internships, the students complete a City and Guilds Level 1 Diploma in Employability Skills. The course runs Monday to Friday from 9am until 4pm, over an academic year. 

Project SEARCH is a proven way of helping young people with learning disabilities to make the difficult transition from benefit dependency to tax paying employment, enabling them to achieve their dreams of an independent and fully active adult life. 

It is a proven method of helping people with learning disabilities move from being benefit dependant to tax paying employees, helping them to reach their employment goals.

Nationally, about 6% of people with learning disabilities are in paid employment.  Project SEARCH Plymouth has supported 69% of its graduate interns into paid work within administration, pharmacy, catering, cleaning, portering, retail and support services. 

To be considered as an Intern for the next academic year, or for further information, please phone or text one of the Project SEARCH team:

Project SEARCH Office 01752 439008, Dan Payne (Tutor) 07810 437318, or Stevie Harris (Employment Advisor) 07435 974562.

You can also email or


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