Project SEARCH

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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, 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 9am until 4pm, over an academic year. 

Project SEARCH is a proven way of helping young people with learning disabilities to get into paid employment, paying into society enabling them to achieve their dreams of an independent adult life. 

Nationally in 2020 and 2021, 5% of people with learning disabilities were in paid employment. Over the last 3 years Project SEARCH Plymouth has supported 45% 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:


A student stood with his mentor in the stores    Woman holding linen in linen room   

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