Department for Work and Pensions

Project Search

Find out how Project Search helps people with learning disabilities secure jobs


What is Project Search?

The Project Search model helps disabled people secure and keep paid permanent jobs. It is particularly suited to people with moderate and severe learning disabilities or autism, and others who can benefit from partnership working to help them into work.

How does it work?

A college tutor or school teacher and job coach run a year-long programme of work training for 12 people via a series of work placements in a host employer organisation.

Project Search sites

The Project Search sites in operation during 2010/11 were:

The above 14 sites contributed to an evaluation led by the Office for Disability Issues (ODI) and received advice and guidance from the cross-Government Valuing Employment Now team.

Of these sites four of them (Leicester City Council, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, NORSE Commercial Services, and Royal United Hospital, Bath) had been delivering Project Search for over a year prior to the start of the evaluation , and all have been successful in supporting people into work of 16 hours or more a week. The remaining ten sites started to deliver the model during the 2010-11 academic year.

Sites interested in running the Project Search model should contact the UK representative for Project Search, Anne O’Bryan.

Project Search sites have identified their own funding from a range of sources.

Project Search: initial findings

The four previously established sites have supported over 25 people with learning disabilities and autism into work. Without Project Search, these sites say it is unlikely that any of these people would have had the opportunity to work and contribute to the economy.

Employer benefits of Project Search

All but three of the 14 evaluation sites started working with their new interns during September 2010. The remaining sites deferred implementing Project Search until January 2011 to ensure that their infrastructure was fully in place and able to provide effective support to interns.

Project Search: Evaluation

An evaluation was conducted of 14 Project Search ‘demonstration’ sites in England during the 2010-11 academic year. The aim of the evaluation was:

This evaluation was mostly qualitative, with some quantitative monitoring data collated to explore certain outcomes.

The report containing the full findings from this evaluation was published on 23rd February 2012 and can be downloaded below. Also available is the executive summary that summarises the main findings and an easy read version of this summary.

The annex of the research topic guides used during the evaluation is also available to download.

More information

For more information on Project Search contact ODI.



Page last reviewed: 23 February 2012

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