Progress Housing Group has been recognised at this year's Lancashire Apprenticeship Awards for its internship programme, which is helping young people with learning disabilities increase their chances of finding employment.

The Group was awarded the Diversity and Inclusion Programme award for providing internships to ten young people aged 19 - 21 living with a learning disability or autism.

The internships provide real-life work experiences combined with training and independent living skills to help the young people transition successfully from college to paid employment.

The interns are matched to their placements by skill, ability and interests. They are supported by work and employment coaches from Runshaw College and national charity Hft, who work alongside them in each department, helping them learn new skills until they can perform the tasks themselves.

"We are thrilled to receive this award for our Project SEARCH Programme. It is a fantastic programme that makes a real difference to young people from our local communities, supporting them to learn new skills and getting them ready to find employment after they leave college. "This award is a thank you to our Project Search team and colleagues and partners involved in making the programme such a success. Thank you, and well done to everyone involved." Mark Ryan, Director of Human Resource and Operational Development for Progress Housing Group

The partners involved in the Project SEARCH programme for the south ribble area are DFN Project SEARCH, Lancashire County Council, Runshaw College, Hft, South Ribble Borough Council and Progress Housing Group.

It is hoped the programme will give young people with learning disabilities and autism the training and encouragement needed to access long-term paid employment once they finish college, as currently, only 5.1% of adults with learning disabilities known to councils are in paid work in the UK. *

Find out more about the Progress Housing Group's Project Search programme. 

DFN Project SEARCH is an international transition to work programme committed to transforming the lives of young people with learning disabilities and autism. To find out more about the programme, visit the website:


* Stats sourced from