By Angela Green:
Hotel Brooklyn Leicester and DFN Project SEARCH launch employment programme for young adults with a learning disability.
National charity DFN Project SEARCH is launching an exciting new Supported Internship Programme with Hotel Brooklyn Leicester, part of the Bespoke Hotels group. Launching during National Inclusion Week in September 2023, the programme will help young adults with a learning disability transition from education into full-time employment.
With the latest employment figures highlighting that only 4.8% of people with a learning disability or autism spectrum condition in England are in full-time paid employment, compared to 80% of their peers, there is a clear and urgent need to support more young people with learning disabilities into the workforce.
The collaboration between DFN Project SEARCH, Bespoke Hotels, Ellesmere College and Leicester Council will create these urgently needed inclusive employment opportunities and empower young adults with learning disabilities and/or autism through specialised training and practical work experience.
Karl Diggins, Manager of Hotel Brooklyn Leicester, said of the programme: “The DFN Project SEARCH programme is a fantastic initiative which we are proud to be part of. Wellbeing, inclusivity and accessibility are major factors in Hotel Brooklyn’s DNA and this is another great example of this activity in action.
“Allowing anyone to apply for a role no matter their challenges changes lives; we know this is true because we see good people flourish in hospitality. All we ask of our people is to get to work on time, look smart and have a great attitude to their role, guests and fellow team members. If they can do that, then we’ll do the rest with them and help them in their career.”
Steph Beale, Executive Principal, Ellesmere College, told us: “We are extremely excited to be working with Hotel Brooklyn on our expanding Project Search programme. After a successful year working with the University Hospitals of Leicester, Hotel Brooklyn is a wonderful addition to our portfolio of opportunities for our young people with SEND.
“We strive for our young people to learn the skills needed to be successful young citizens able to make a positive contribution to society and Hotel Brooklyn is helping to make this a reality for some of the most amazing young people in our city.
“We are very excited to see how the project develops and to support our young people into employment at the end of the year. We cannot thank Hotel Brooklyn enough!”
Claire Cookson, CEO of DFN Project SEARCH, reflected on how things are progressing saying: “We are thrilled to announce our partnership with Hotel Brooklyn, Ellesmere College and Leicester Council. This is a life-changing opportunity for young people who have a learning disability or an autism spectrum disorder and who may not have had the opportunity to try themselves out in competitive employment. The internships will offer young people comprehensive support and teach crucial employability skills to our interns, opening doors to fulfilling future careers.”
During the 12-month programme, the young adults aged between 18-25 will take on different roles at Bespoke Hotel’s Somerset location, one of the UK’s leading independent hotels. Interns will receive tailored support from skilled mentors and educators, ensuring they develop the confidence and skills necessary to succeed in their chosen career paths.
The social benefits to the individuals taking part in these Supported Internships and finding paid work are transformational. With the largest data set in the UK, DFN Project SEARCH’s evidence-based model challenges misconceptions and changes the way society views and enables young adults with a learning disability and/or autism to ensure that they reach their true and full potential, through employment.
You can learn more about DFN Project SEARCH here.