Preparing for adulthood


Young men with disabilities in a classroom

Moving towards adulthood is an exciting time of new opportunities, new choices and increasing independence for young people. Planning for the transition to adulthood for young people with an Education Health and Care (EHC) plan starts at in Year 9 (age 13-14).

This section sets out the opportunities and support available to help with:

  • Preparing for and finding Employment
  • Good Health
  • Independent Living
  • Friends, Relationships and Community

 There is more information on the National Preparing for Adulthood website.




Developing a SEND Preparation for Adulthood Team in North Tyneside (April 2023)

We’re pleased to share that the Authority has invested in developing a SEND Preparation for Adulthood Team within the SEND Support Service.  This team will consist of a Senior Special Education and Disability Officer who will lead three Special Education and Disability Officers responsible for the Annual Review of young people’s Education Health and Care Plans.  We have also expanded our Business Support Arrangements too, with one additional member of staff joining that team.  

The need to strengthen our preparation for adulthood arrangements in the borough is a key priority for young people, parents, and carers, when we developed our SEND Inclusion Strategy 2021-2024.    It is our aspiration that the SEND Preparation for Adulthood Team will develop strong and effective relationships with young people, their parents and carers, and across the partnership, such as 6th forms, colleges and education providers, and wider partners, such as Connexions, Adults Social Care, Children’s Social Care and the Integrated Care Board.

The SEND Preparation for Adulthood Team will work alongside four other teams within the SEND Support Service, including our Education, Health and Care Needs Assessment Team, Annual Review Team, Phase Transfer Team and Business Support Team. 

We hope that the new team will go live early July 2023.


Preparing for and finding Employment - Information Advice and Guidance

Connexions is part of the North Tyneside Council’s Employment and Skills Service, and provides impartial careers information, advice and guidance to young people from year 9 at school. They can work with young people who have an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP), up to the age of 25.

Connexions Advisers work with young people in school to provide careers guidance and information on post 16 options, and pathways into the world of work.  They also work with young people who have left school and need help to explore career ideas and options.

Connexions Advisers will attend reviews of Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) from Year 9 onwards, and other meetings with young people, their families and professionals to support with transition from school or college and training.

Connexions Advisers help young people to develop their decision making skills, vocational strengths and interests, and find and make sense of information about careers and future options.

Young people at school in North Tyneside can arrange to see their Connexions Adviser by asking their School Careers Coordinator or by contacting Connexions. Advisers can meet young people who have left school in Customer Service Centres. To make an appointment contact Connexions:

Telephone: (0191) 643 6965


JobCentre Plus helps adults from eighteen to find employment. Work Coaches can do assessments to help you find what type of work might suit you best. They can tell you about local programmes designed to help people get the skills to get into work, and provide advice and support to people with disabilities seeking employment. JobCentre Plus also provide information about benefit entitlements and applications, and do ‘Better Off In Work’ calculations.


You can find details of your local JobCentre Plus here.


Pathways towards work and options at 16

There are a few different ways of gaining skills and qualifications for employment. Below are some of the most common choices that young people can make from age 16 upwards.  Opportunities change regularly, so to get up to date advice about local further education and training, and the full range of local provision at any one time, contact Connexions

Not all of these options will suit everyone.  The best option for you will depend on your areas of interest, your abilities and what you have achieved so far.  Your Connexions Adviser will help you to decide which is best for you.



If you're 16 or over and not in full-time education, you could gain a qualification while earning a salary working directly for an employer, if you meet the entry requirements. Apprenticeships offer the opportunity to gain valuable workplace skills and experience.  If you don't meet the entry requirements Traineeships and Supported Internships may be a good alternative.

There are over 170 industries that offer apprenticeships, with over 1,500 job roles available.

Find out more: see the Apprenticeships website.



Further Education

If you are thinking about going on to further education, you can consider 6th forms and colleges.

Sixth Forms

Many young people decide to stay on at their school’s 6th form.  If your school does not have a 6th form, it may be possible to attend a 6th form at a different school if the courses and support available are appropriate for you.  This would usually be discussed at your review meetings as you get closer to leaving school, as your EHC Plan needs to be changed to reflect the need for you to change schools.

Your Connexions Adviser can help you look into the local 6th form options as well as other alternatives.


Further Education Colleges

The local college in North Tyneside is Tyne Metropolitan (Tyne Met) College (part of Tyne Coast College ).  Tyne Met College offer a wide range of vocational (work related) courses and Foundation Learning Courses.  

Foundation Learning Courses focus on the skills needed for independence, confidence and the workplace.   Most learners attend a “Links” (taster) course to help them to decide which is the best pathway for them.   You can see the full range in the college’s on-line prospectus.


There are other colleges which young people from North Tyneside attend, such as Newcastle College, Gateshead College, South Tyneside (part of Tyne Coast College), and Kirkley Hall (Northumberland College).  Young people sometimes attend colleges in these areas to do a specific or specialist course.


If you require transport support you may be expected to attend the nearest college that offers the course you plan to do.  You can read the Council’s Post 16 Transport Policy for Learners with Learning Difficulties and / or Disabilities here.


Independent Specialist Colleges

Occasionally local further education colleges can’t meet young people’s needs, and it is necessary to explore specialist colleges.  Natspec provides a directory of specialist colleges nationally. 

The process of exploring these options and securing a place needs to start well in advance of leaving school.  Should you feel that you may need this type of college you should discuss it with your Connexions Adviser as early as possible.


Adult Learning

Adult Learning

North Tyneside Council’s Adult Learning Service and Tyne Met College offer a range of courses that over 16 year olds can apply for, including some that provide support for people with learning disabilities and difficulties.  You can access the Adult Learning Service courses here. Tyne Met course information is available here.

North Tyneside Adult Learning Service was inspected by Ofsted in June 2023 and both its Adult Learning provision and provision for learners with high needs (Ignite your Potential) were graded as ‘Outstanding’.

The full Ofsted report can be found here.

In addition to the wide range of courses, the provision includes a Vocational Study Programme for young people who have an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP). This will suit young people who would like to develop their employability skills further and undertake more work experience placements before deciding on their chosen career path. 

Ignite your Potential: A Preparation for Adulthood Study Programme

The programme offers three levels of pathway programmes for SEND learners aged 16-25 years old. The three levels include:

Level 1 - Independent Living/Community Participation

This will suit young people who want to develop their independent skills, relating to becoming independent in travelling and exploring community activities, looking after themselves, and discovering volunteering opportunities.

Level 2 - Vocational Study Programme

Builds on the independence and personal development skills of the young person and introduces them to a real work placement in an area of interest

Level 3 - Advanced Study Programme

Prepares the young person, to develop their career aspiration and continue to develop them personally whilst preparing them for the world of work

To express an interest in these courses you must have an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP). Learners will also undertake further study in English and Maths and attend work placements. Progression pathways following completion include supported internships, further education, modern apprenticeships, part-time or full-time work, self–employment or volunteering.

Young people can attend taster days to help them find out more and see if this option is for them.

You can find information on the full range of Adult Learning Service Courses on the Employment and Skills Service website.



These are education and training programmes with work experience that help to prepare young people for an area of work.  A large part of the learning happens in the work place, but there is also off the job training to work on furthering qualifications in Maths and English.  There are a number of training providers offering this, such as ETS - Barnardos and NYA. Connexions can advise you of what local Traineeships may suit you and help you to apply.

Some young people progress to Apprenticeships as a next step.

Supported Internships

The option of a Supported Internship is available to young people with a higher level of need and who have an Educational Health and Care plan. It gives the opportunity to build self-confidence and self-esteem in the workplace. Current options include:

Supported Internships offered by  Project Choice. Young people on Project Choice undertake a Supported Internship within the NHS and partner organisations to help them prepare for the world of work.

To find out more about Project Choice see this link which includes a video with more information. 

Tyne Met College also offers a range of Supported Internships. See the TyneMet Prospectus for information.


Distance and e-learning


Some young people are unable to access a college or training provider and may wish to explore distance and e-learning from home. Nisai are a virtual college that can offer this.  Adult learning Service may also have suitable programmes.  Your Connexions Adviser can help you if you want to explore this.

Higher Education

Students in higher education (degree level) can apply for the Disabled Students Allowance if they have:

  • a disability
  • a long term health problem
  • a mental health condition

This is in addition to other student finance and does not need to be repaid.  It is to assist with costs of any specialist equipment needed, non-medical helpers, extra travel because of your disability, and other disability related costs of studying.

Further information and application forms are available here.

Once young people enter Higher Education their Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) ceases, as support comes via the Disabled Students Allowance.  Universities will have an Adviser for Disabled Students who will help to coordinate support.


Enterprise and Self Employment

Some people have a skill or talent that they can turn into a small business and work for themselves.  Locally,  First Face to Face supports young people to develop enterprise skills.

Voluntary Work

Sometimes young people undertake voluntary work as a means of gaining useful experience and skills.  There are a range of opportunities available via VODA who are based at the Queen Alexandra Campus in North Shields, and can offer supported volunteering.  As well as gaining work experience, volunteering can help with confidence and provide an opportunity to meet people and make friends.

Transition Enablement Team

The Transition Enablement Team (TET) is an integral part of North Tyneside Council’s  Community Learning Disability Team (CLDT adults) and Children’s Disability Team (CDT), and all of these fall under the umbrella of the Whole Life Disability Service which is currently in development.

The Transition Enablement workers have been transferred from the adult Community Enablement Team into the CDT and received relevant training and preparation in relation to working with children, young people and families.

When a child/young person reaches the age of 14 and is open to the Children’s Disability Team, the allocated Social Worker will introduce a Transition Enablement worker.

The role of the worker, if required by the family, will be to support as smooth a Transition as possible, becoming the contact point for any query relating to Transition processes and to Preparation for Adulthood, including independent supported living, employment/volunteering and developing friendships.

 As well as guidance and advice, the Transition Enablement worker can provide practical support such as independent travel training, they will also provide an information pack for families regarding available resources and contacts, this includes an adult’s Wellbeing Assessment, which is the tool used to assess Social Care needs for someone 18 years old and over.

The Transition Enablement workers can be contacted via CDT admin, 0191 6434151.


Friends, Relationships and Community - Having a wide circle of friends, positive relationships and making a contribution to their local community, are all recognised as being beneficial in promoting a feeling of general wellbeing in people.

A Transition Enablement worker can provide support for anyone who is open to the Children’s Disability Team (CDT), to widen their circle of friends. They can provide support to reconnect with friends who have become distant, or to develop new relationships. The worker will complete a checklist of the interests someone has, and use this to find opportunities to meet likeminded people. They can then provide short term support to enable someone, where possible, to travel independently to, and become confident in a new social setting, with the aim of building relationships and developing natural support.

The Transition Enablement Team hold a comprehensive register of regular activities and one off events which take place in North Tyneside and the surrounding areas.         

If a young person wishes to have a stronger presence in their local community, the Transition Enablement worker can provide support to enable people to improve this aspect of their lives, with the aim of, not only having a presence in their community, but of making a positive contribution. This is often by sourcing, arranging and establishing volunteering opportunities and again they can provide travel training and short term support whilst natural, supportive relationships are being developed.

Anyone who is interested can enquire via their allocated Social Worker or by contacting CDT admin 0191 6434151.


Independent Supported Living - The Transition Enablement Team (TET) is an integral part of North Tyneside Council’s Community Learning Disability Team (CLDT) and Children’s Disability Team (CDT), and all of these teams fall under the umbrella of the Whole Life Disability Service which is currently in development.

TET can provide practical support and advice regarding the options for, and availability of, Independent Supported Living opportunities for young people who are open to the CDT.

The CDT Social Worker will introduce a worker from TET to the interested family, this worker will ensure that young people and their family are well informed and have choice and control over where they live, who, if anyone, they live with and how they are supported, even if they may not be able to make those choices themselves. TET will then remain in place at all stages, from the point of an initial discussion, enabling informed decision making, through to ensuring a successful move into a chosen property.

Matching people who have similar personalities and interests and who are seeking to share a tenancy and support, is an important part of the process. The TET worker will identify any potential sharing opportunities and then provide practical support for people to meet over a period of time to find out if they get along well enough to consider living together.  

Part of the TET role will be the completion of a baseline assessment of the young person, in regard to the skills required for Independent Supported Living. This assessment will then inform the adult Wellbeing Assessment, which will be completed between the ages of 17 - 18, and will formally identify the needs and support requirements of the young person. 

For further information please contact CDT admin, 0191 6434151.


The Health provision for those aged 18 years and over varies by service. If you are approaching the transition to adult services  you may wish to talk to your health professional about what will be available for you once you turn 18. Some services such as the Community Dentists offer a lifelong service while other Paediatric services will end and ongoing care may be arranged through your GP.

Northumbria Healthcare services can be found here.

Newcastle Hospitals services can be found here.


Primary Care

GP Online - Register here to access to your GP services via the website or app.

  • book or cancel appointments online with a GP or nurse
  • order repeat prescriptions online
  • view parts of your GP record, including information about medication, allergies, vaccinations, previous illnesses and test results
  • view clinical correspondence such as hospital discharge summaries, outpatient appointment letters and referral letters

 Various apps available on android and apple       


Annual health checks - People with a learning disability often have poorer physical and mental health than other people. This does not need to be the case.

Annual health checks are for adults and young people aged 14 or over with a learning disability.

An annual health check helps you stay well by talking about your health and finding any problems early, so you get the right care.


NHS Continuing healthcare – Some people with long-term complex health needs qualify for free social care arranged and funded solely by the NHS including Children. This is known as NHS continuing healthcare (CHC) and continuing care for children. 


Further resources and support can be found in the health section.