Supported internships

Supported Internships are for people aged 16 to 24 with learning difficulties or disabilities who need extra help to get a job. They are a study programme where you do most of your learning at work and some in college.

To be eligible you need to have an education, health and care (EHC) plan.

You can find out about supported internships from:

  • School
  • College
  • Your social worker or transition worker 
  • Jobcentre Plus

Supported internship opportunities in Lancashire

DFN Project SEARCH is committed to transforming the lives of young people with learning disabilities and autism. It is a full academic year supported internship programme for 16 to 24 year olds who have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

The programme helps young people to prepare for employment by equipping them with the skills they need for work, through learning and work experience placements at the host business. Wherever possible, the young people are supported to move into paid employment at the end of the programme.

The young person takes part in three work experience placements to build their skills and develop a career path. Alongside their time at the host business, they complete a person-centred study programme in employability and independent-living skills to help them make a successful transition from education to employment and adult life.

The on-site DFN Project SEARCH team develop person-centred support for each young person, together with support from families/carers, they will set SMART targets towards employment, independent living, social and good health outcomes.

DFN Project SEARCH is a partnership between a host business, an education partner, and a supported employment partner:

  • A host business who provides work experience placements and a classroom
  • An education partner who provides a tutor who delivers the employability curriculum
  • A supported employment partner who provides an employability coach in the workplace and a follow-on employability coach after the programme ends
  • Lancashire County Council who acts as a license holder to ensure the provision is accessible to all across Lancashire
  • The Department for Work and Pensions provide ’Access to Work’ funding


To apply for Project SEARCH you must:

  • be aged 16-24
  • have an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC plan)
  • be travel trained or be willing to take part in travel training
  • have a desire to achieve paid employment of 16 or more hours a week
  • behave and dress in a professional manner

There are four DFN Project SEARCH sites across Lancashire:


If you have any questions about supported internships in Lancashire email

To contact local supported internship providers, see the contact details below:


Host Business: Lancashire County Council
Education Partner: Preston College
Supported Employment Partner: Hft

Contact: or 01772 531641


Host Business: Progress Housing Group
Education Partner: Runshaw College (currently recruiting internally to the college and not external)

Contact: Will Sutton (Course Leader), or 01772 642040


Host Business: Lancashire Constabulary
Education Partner: Preston College
Supported Employment Partner: Hft

Contact: or 01772 225522


Host Business: Royal Lancaster Infirmary - UHMBT
Education Partner: Lancaster & Morecambe College
Supported Employment Partner: Hft

Contact: Mike Ferguson (Course Leader), Laura Knowles (Employability Coach) or 07918 427881


Host Business: Calico Group
Education Partner: Burnley College

Contact and applications: Sarah Moorhouse (Course Leader), Maria Bolton (Employability Coach) or 01282 686735