Employment project in Burnley that equips young people with learning difficulties with skills they need for world of work celebrates 100% pass rate

An employment support programme, for those living with learning difficulties and autism, has celebrated a new term following a 100% success rate among interns.
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Interns and staff from across the Calico Group came together to officially launch the new term with a celebratory event at Burnley College.

The event provided the ideal opportunity for the interns, completing placements as part of DFN Project Search, an international transition to work programme committed to transforming the lives of young people with learning disabilities and autism, to show off their achievements and make connections with local employers.

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Calico Enterprise were also presented with the 100% Employment Outcome Award after supporting each intern from the previous term into employment. Calico Enterprise delivers the project in partnership with Burnley College and Lancashire County Council, currently supporting interns through a work placement at host employer The Calico Group.

Staff from the Calico Group celebrate with interns of the DFN Project Search that achieved a 100 percent pass rateStaff from the Calico Group celebrate with interns of the DFN Project Search that achieved a 100 percent pass rate
Staff from the Calico Group celebrate with interns of the DFN Project Search that achieved a 100 percent pass rate

DFN Project Search programme provides supported internships and employment training opportunities for people aged 18-24. The programme aims to raise awareness and support young people who have so much to offer the workplace.

Through supported internships, individuals gain the skills needed to maximise their potential and find paid employment in the future. As an organisation, the Calico Group has committed to raising the national average employment rate for those living with learning difficulties and autism which recently fell to just 5.1% between 2020-2021.

DFN Project Search has ambitions to get 10,000 young adults with learning difficulties and autism into full-time paid jobs over the next decade and 20,000 in the next 15 years.

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Amid the celebrations, staff and interns also sought to raise awareness of Project Search among business leaders.

The event provided ample opportunity for interns and staff to showcase the skills and support on offer in the hopes that more businesses would engage with the programme and accommodate work placements.

The interns turned their hands to networking and were able to get several businesses, including Pendleside Hospice, Positive Footprints and Motorpoint, on board.

Guest speakers at the event included representatives from DFN Project Search, Burnley College and Lancashire County Council. Guests were also treated to several presentations from the interns themselves.

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Lindsey Danson, who is Service Operations Manager, Calico Enterprise, said: "This event is an opportunity for us to come together and celebrate the incredible achievements of these interns.

"We’re really pleased to see several local employers coming along and hope they can recognise the huge potential our interns possess.”

Project SEARCH CEO Claire Cookson said: "The past 12 months have been truly transformational as we have responded to the pandemic, and we are so proud of our interns at the Calico Group and programme team who have achieved 100 percent job outcomes and undoubtedly risen to the challenge.

“It’s so encouraging to see our Calico Group programme thrive despite a challenging year and to continue to support young people with learning disabilities and autism to find meaningful jobs during these extraordinary times.”