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DFN Project Search is a one-year, full time course which takes place within a Lanarkshire hospital site. DFN Project SEARCH has a very clear goal - to provide young people with additional support needs skills that will help them progress towards competitive paid employment.

Started in 1996 at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Project SEARCH now boasts over 300 sites worldwide.

DFN Project SEARCH is a partnership programme with North and South Lanarkshire Councils and offers internships with a large local employer. NHS Lanarkshire and ISS are the employers that operate for the Lanarkshire projects. The Project runs during the college academic year for a duration of 36 weeks. During this 36-week period, prospective students will have the opportunity to complete three work placements in various departments within each hospital site.

DFN Project SEARCH currently operates in University Hospitals Hairmyres, Monklands and Wishaw. As the programme is a partnership, applicants must live in the Lanarkshire area to be eligible to apply. Applicants must also be 18 or over by the start of the course and travel independently to the hospital site.


No formal entry requirements. Applications should be made directly to the Faculty of Supported Learning. Applicants will be selected at interview.

Applicants must be 18 years old by the start date of this course to apply.


Students will experience a mixture of classroom based education and work place experience within the hospital setting. Students are offered the opportunity in a variety of placements throughout the site and will be supported by job coaches from Lanarkshire Councils. Furthermore, students will have the opportunity to evaluate their day and focus on employability skills.

Each successful candidate will become a student of New College Lanarkshire. The College provides academic structure whilst adhering to Project SEARCH guidelines.

Successful candidates will spend an academic year working towards paid employment whilst developing life and interpersonal skills. Curriculum areas that they will cover include the following;

  • Work experience
  • Communication
  • Employability skills
  • Interview skills
  • Personal development
  • Health and Safety in the workplace
  • C.V. development
  • Money management

Many other aspects are covered within the Project but the emphasis is towards employability and developing the skills associated.