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Project Choice - a work experience pathway for students with Learning disabilities or ASD

Project Choice is a supported internship programme for people with learning disabilities, difficulties or autism (LDDA). NHS Health Education England, support NHS Trusts to deliver the programme nationally. The focus is ‘work readiness’ and matching skills to employment.

The project teams ensure there are placements across the Trusts looking specifically at entry-level jobs to make sure the right learner is allocated to this role. They also work closely with managers to confirm that tasks are clearly understood.

In addition, the programme offers training to staff to become work-based mentors, working alongside and supporting learners. Over 500 staff have been trained to support LDDA, developing unique teaching techniques and skills, which can be transferred across the organisation.

The young learners spend a year within their internships with 3 placements which each span 10-12 weeks. In their placement they are embedded in the team. The Project Choice team uses this time to look at any barriers and potential areas of development. Throughout, the learners are gradually assessed on how ready for employment they are.

The scheme also incorporates a work experience element supported by the Trusts. This gives students an opportunity to develop skills for the workplace and ensures young people with LDDA understand the importance of matching their skill sets to work while still in education.

A minimum of 12 internships are supported annually, ensuring learners are ready for entry level roles or above. In Newcastle 63 interns have been supported through this project, the employment transition rate currently stands at 80%.

Supported Internship Outcomes

Outcomes for Newcastle learners who completed supported internships in the 2017/18 academic year as at the 5th September 2018

Total Number of Newcastle learners completing course

Number who gained 15+ hours paid work per week

Number who gained less than 15 hours paid work per week

Number who went onto an apprenticeship

Number who are doing voluntary work Number not employed or in training Number gone onto Vocational study programme
11 3 2 5 0 0 1


Project Choice Video

Who to contact

Contact Name
Lorna Harasymiuk
Contact Position
Project Choice Area Manager - Newcastle
07766 384122
Parent Organisation
Newcastle City Council Supported Employment Service

Local Offer

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information


We support young adults aged 16-24 years old with learning difficulties, disabilities or on the Autistic Spectrum Disorder to develop key skills in employability to enable them to become work ready.

Last updated: 05/09/2018
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