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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.


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.   Tyne Met also have a 6th form College base (Queen Alexandra College).  There are courses and support for learners with a wide range of special educational needs and disabilities.  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 jointly 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 joint prospectus here.

North Tyneside Adult Learning Service have a wide range of courses which includes a Vocational Study Programme for young people who have and 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.  There will be a range of vocational tasters on offer, as well as support to explore career directions.  Learners will also undertake further study in Maths and English.  Following this, learners could progress to other further education and training or a supported internship.

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.

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