Project SEARCH

Project SEARCH helps young people aged between 17 and 25 who have a learning disability to get the skills they need to find a job.

Project SEARCH interns spend their entire day on site at the host business. Each day begins with a short classroom session where interns learn vital employability skills and ends with a short classroom session to consolidate their day and prepare reflective work logs.  The rest of the day is spent working in the hospital, supported by the Course Teacher/Tutor, Job Coaches and local Mentors.

Each term the interns undertake a new “rotation” or work placement, this has a clear focus on developing the full range of skills required to complete the job to the required standard, and working independently.

The aim is to develop each intern to the point where they can apply for jobs and achieve employment. Research in the USA and Europe supports out belief that the Project SEARCH internship model greatly improves the chances of young people with learning difficulties and disabilities to gain employment

Wakefield benefits from having two Project SEARCH Transition Programmes hosted by The Mid Yorkshire Hospital NHS Trust Pinderfields, with the Educational establishment being Highfield School and a second one at the Next distribution Centre, with the Educational establishment being Wakefield College. HFT supports both programmes by providing job coaches, and Wakefield Council who commissions each student with the support needed, by way of an Educational, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)

Our Partnership

Highfield School established the strategic partnerships for this Project Search and continue to lead on the education and work skills programmes

Hft Supported Employment Provide the job coaches and help the interns apply for jobs at the end and during rotations.

The Mid Yorkshire Hospital NHS Trust Provides acute care to nearly half a million people living in the Wakefield and North Kirklees districts and community health services across Wakefield and Pontefract. The Trust will provide a classroom base on the hospital site and each intern will be mentored by a member of the hospital department during the job rotation. The Trust will develop a wide range of placements so interns can chose to work in areas they are interested in.

Benefits to the Young People

  • Access to three work rotations
  • Develop real life workplace skills
  • Increased independence, confidence and self-esteem
  • Careers advise and support about applying for jobs and interview skills
  • Developing team-working skills

Success Stories

Liam did extremely well to be offered a job shortly after Christmas 2017. He’s been a full-time employee of the Trust working as a Pharmacy Technician since February 2018.



Briony spent her first rotation as an Administrative Assistant in the Recruitment team, where she collated occupational health forms, scanned documents, did data entry and puts training packs together. Briony settled well, impressing her mentor and colleagues. So, when a position came available Briony was encouraged to apply. Briony was successful in securing a permanent position.