June 15, 2023

3 minutes

Creating opportunities with DFN Project Search

DFN Project Search is an amazing organisation that aims to facilitate employment experience and opportunities for individuals with learning disabilities or autism. They engage host businesses to get involved with their 12-month supported internship program. The programme assigns an individual from DFN Project Search to support and assist the interns during their 12-month period, ensuring a successful transition into employment.

DFN Project Search collaborates with over 120 host businesses that have witnessed the benefits of the programme, such as improved workforce morale and productivity and real-life work experience for individuals, with the aim of leading them to full-time employment.

For some time I have been looking at how I could extend my support beyond the recruitment field and make a small difference where I can. I was inspired by the work of a long-term friend of mine, Steve Mills from DPD UK, who has worked with DFN Project Search for several years. I decided to explore ways in which I could contribute and create visibility for DFN Project Search. After understanding the challenges faced by individuals with learning disabilities and autism, I wanted to see how Jumar could provide additional support and demonstrate our social values by helping raise awareness of DFN Project Search, amongst our network and the organisations we currently partner with.

Last month, Sarah Wright and I had the pleasure of meeting Claire Cookson from DFN Project Search for an inspiring meeting. We were both shocked to hear that only 4.8% of working-age people with a learning disability or autism are in paid employment. This came as a huge surprise as the following positive key statistics were shared during the session:

  1. Loyalty: Individuals with learning disabilities or autism tend to remain in their roles longer compared to those without these conditions.
  2. Lower absenteeism: DFN Project Search participants show a strong desire to work, resulting in lower rates of absenteeism.
  3. Punctuality and timekeeping: They exhibit excellent punctuality and timekeeping skills.
  4. Reliability and service: Participants are highly reliable and provide excellent service in their roles.
  5. Improved staff morale and productivity: The 120 host businesses that joined the programme and offered supported internships have experienced improved staff morale and increased productivity.

The meeting included thought-provoking insights from Claire, emphasising the importance of supporting the DFN Project Search programme. The programme's focus is to provide opportunities for individuals with learning difficulties and autism (or both) so they can flourish and gain experience in the world of work.

It doesn’t just benefit the individual either, it benefits their families and often the surrounding community. While there is funding available for support throughout education, there is a need for continued support in the workplace. It is vital to give these individuals a chance and ensure they receive the necessary support to thrive.

Here at Jumar, we are exploring ways to support the programme further, including seeking ways to utilise our network and the team’s connections to promote and support DFN Project Search. Both individuals and businesses benefit from these experiences, and we are aiming to help our communities by creating increased chances for success.

Andy Calvert
Customer Success Manager, Jumar