Eight inspiring young people are celebrating after completing the 2024 DFN Project SEARCH initiative.

The interns celebrated the completion of their training at a special graduation ceremony at University Hospital Crosshouse on Thursday, June 6.

Guests from NHS Ayrshire & Arran, East Ayrshire Council and Ayrshire College accompanied family and friends to watch the ceremony.

The DFN Project SEARCH programme has been operating in East Ayrshire for 11 years and is designed to support young people with learning disabilities and autism spectrum conditions to gain valuable employment skills.

The interns completed 36 weeks of training and gained practical experience within different areas of UHC, East Ayrshire Council and local businesses.

The programme helps to build confidence, self-esteem and independence. Three of the graduates have already been offered posts as a result of their placements in East Ayrshire.

Claire Burden, NHS Ayrshire and Arran’s chief executive, said: “My heartfelt congratulations and warm wishes to the 2024 intern graduates.

"It’s truly inspirational to learn of the breadth of work these young people have been involved in and the learning opportunities and life skills that they have benefitted from."

If you are an employer who is interested in recruiting a Project SEARCH intern, or would like to know more, email Jonny Baillie, NHS Ayrshire and Arran employability adviser, on jonny.baillie@aapct.scot.nhs.uk.