Attending the DFN Project Search Conference 2023 : An inspiring experience

Posted 30/11/2023

Unity Works attended the DFN Project Search 2023 annual conference to network and build knowledge on supported employment schemes.

Unity Works Supported Employment attended the DFN Project Search 2023 Annual Conference. The event took place across two days from 16th – 17th November at The Winter Gardens in Blackpool including an Annual Award Ceremony celebrating host sites.

Unity Works provides supported employment through our job coaches for DFN Project Search supported internships at host business sites at Kings College Hospital in the London Borough of Lambeth and Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust – Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Berkeley Homes in the Royal Borough of Greenwich. Our job coaches, working alongside the host business and our partner college tutors, deliver tailored support to empower interns to succeed and develop in their career aspirations. The DFN Project Search conference was an excellent opportunity to network and build on knowledge to develop our programmes. Etherline Joseph, Senior Job Coach, said:

It is a great forum where everyone meets together with the same passion and enthusiasm to ensure that young people with a learning disability and/or autism are given maximum opportunity within a host business to gain paid and sustained employment. I took part in DFN training sessions and so when attending through lockdown and then in person, its like meeting old friends. Everyone is on the same page and so open and willing to exchange experiences, help provide solutions across on-site teams, host business and employment providers.

The conference was packed with professional growth and networking opportunities with other sites, panels, speeches and more than 30 informative workshops spanning 2 days covering a range of topics including Social Media and your DFN Project Search programme, Access to Work, enhancing collaboration, inclusive recruitment, adding value, ongoing journeys, lived experiences of interns , continuous improvement and much more.

The theme for the conference this year was “Inspiring an inclusion revolution” #inclusionrevolution inspiring more employers and  addressing challenges around youth employment to join the revolution in giving opportunities for all young adults to be gain quality jobs. There were talks by and from the DFN Project Search founders Erin and Suzy, who led a panel discussion, gave up to date progress on a global level and speak about growth of our delivery to always improve the effect we are having on the world and increasing the chances of our clientele gaining paid and sustainable employment. Jesamine Murray, Contract Manager, said:

Attending the Project Search conference was inspirational and an uplifting and energising experience. The opportunity to network, learn and be part of the #inclusionrevoltion was so valuable and it was also great have the chance  to meet people from so many different supported internship sites to share best practice in working towards the shared vision and goal of an inclusive future and further opening up meaningful employment opportunities for young adults with learning disabilities and autism.

Would you like to find out more about our Supported Internships provision?  Get in touch with Helen Smith, Employment Service Manager, to find out more at