DFN Project SEARCH Students Graduate

Young adults taking part in Dundee DFN Project SEARCH, a life-changing supported internship programme, have celebrated their graduation.


DFN Project SEARCH is a business-led one-year transition to employment programme for adults with a learning disability or Autism spectrum conditions or both. DFN Project SEARCH in Dundee is a collaboration between Dundee and Angus College, NHS Tayside, and Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership.

The group of eight interns who completed the programme proudly took part in a graduation ceremony on Friday, 26th May in front of their family and friends.

The graduation ceremony took place at the Gannochy Trust Lecture Theatre at Ninewells Hospital, with certificates presented by Simon Hewitt (Dundee and Angus College Principal), Tracey Bowman (NHS Tayside Non Executive Board Member), and Arlene Mitchell (Locality Manager, Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership).

Kirsty Paterson, Head of Sector for Business, Access and Education at Dundee and Angus College, said: “Dundee and Angus College are absolutely delighted at the success of DFN Project Search based at Ninewells in Dundee. The partnership between the different organisations supporting employment internships for young people in our region has been outstanding, helping them to take huge positive first steps into the world of work. Having visited recently, I was absolutely blown away by the confident learners, aspirational staff and the general integration into hospital life that had been made. The success of this programme is clear for everyone to see, truly changing the lives of our local young people.”

The graduating interns were the second group to go through the DFN Project SEARCH programme in Dundee, with the first group taking part in 2021 and graduating last year. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s interns were the first to be taught at Ninewells Hospital. Throughout the duration of the programme, the interns have experienced a variety of jobs at Ninewells and Royal Victoria Hospital, which included: Receptionist, Porter, Kitchen Assistant, Ward Assistant, Medical Lab Assistant, Clerical Officer and Administration Assistant. Each intern had the opportunity to undertake valuable work placements in a variety of departments at Ninewells and Royal Victoria Hospitals, allowing them to experience working with different teams within the hospital.

Scott Dunn, Head of Development for NHS Tayside, said: “NHS Tayside has been delighted to partner with DFN Project Search and Dundee & Angus College to support these young people in both preparing for, and experiencing work. It has been inspiring to hear about their positive experiences and the benefits they have gained from the project. DFN Project Search makes such a difference in helping young people find meaningful employment and NHS Tayside is keen to continue supporting the project.”

The eight graduates from this year’s Dundee DFN Project SEARCH were: Adam Mills, Fraser Kidd, Sarah McConnachie, Thomas Fitzpatrick, Connor McDade, Jamie Richie, Gavin Archibald and Jonathan Munro.