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Empowering future talent through inclusive internships

Main Image Supported Internships At DNF Project SEARCH 2023 Conference 680X460

This month we welcome three exceptional interns through our groundbreaking partnership with DFN Project Search, a transition to work programme committed to transforming the lives of young adults with a learning disability or autism. This signifies our commitment to fostering a more inclusive workplace.

The inspiration behind the partnership comes from a deeply personal connection to Rachael Atherton, Equality Diversity and Inclusion Manager at Places for People.

“My son, Harrison, attends an Autism high school in Preston, where he formed a friendship with an older boy named Toby. Toby, a vibrant and outdoorsy individual with a passion for plants and flowers, faced limited opportunities upon completing a horticulture course. This poignant realisation prompted me to consider how many individuals like Toby and Harrison were out there, yearning for opportunities to showcase their talents. Thus, 'Project Toby', as it is internally known, was born out of a genuine desire to make a difference and create opportunities for young adults like Toby and Harrison.”

In collaboration with colleges across the UK and DFN Project SEARCH, the Places for People supported internship programme is a transition to work programme. During their final year in education, young adults with autism and/or learning disabilities are offered work placement opportunities. By providing authentic work experiences and developing transferable skills sought by employers, our goal is to empower these individuals to secure full-time, paid employment, either within our organisation or elsewhere.

Rachael shares:

“Over the past 12 months, Abigail Carmichael, Brittany Hopkins, and I have collaborated to bring 'Project Toby' to life. We are thrilled to introduce our new interns—Miroslav, Zachary, and Michael—who will be joining our Workplace Solutions, IT, and Millbank Wellbeing Centre local teams. Their inclusion enriches our internal colleague Community and emphasises our dedication to creating a more inclusive environment. Our vision is for businesses across the UK to embrace inclusive hiring practices, to create a future where opportunities are extended to all.

“The benefits to companies such as Places for People are that we gain access to a new, untapped diverse talent stream. We will also provide training opportunities for Colleagues supporting our interns.”

Together, let's make a difference in the lives of these inspiring young adults and pave the way for a more inclusive future.