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





SEND Preparation for Adulthood Team in North Tyneside

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 consists of a Senior Special Education and Disability Officer (Senior SENDO) who will lead three Special Education and Disability Officers (SENDOs) 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 was 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 works 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. 

The new team started in September 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. Connexions 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 attend EHCP reviews from Year 9 onwards, and meet with young people, their families and professionals to support transition from school, college, or training.

Connexions Advisers help young people to develop their decision-making skills, vocational strengths and interests, 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 Lead or by contacting Connexions. Advisers can meet young people who have left school in a local venue. To make an appointment contact Connexions:


Telephone: (0191) 643 6965


JobCentre Plus


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 Job Centre Plus in one of the North Tyneside Cluster locations:

North Shields


Killingworth Jobcentre is in Killingworth Shopping Centre (opposite Wilkinson’s).  Many buses can take you there. They stop at the bus station next to the shops.

North Shields Jobcentre is in the town centre.  It is near ASDA and next to Citizens Advice.  It is a short walk from North Shields Metro station and the bus stops on Bedford Street.

Wallsend Jobcentre is in the town centre.  It is next to ASDA and Wallsend Interchange.  It is a very short walk from Wallsend Metro station.  You can also take a bus here. Some stop at the high street and some stop at the interchange.

Disability Employment Advisers (DEAs) help with:

Work and training advice for people with disabilities and carers
Help with understanding DWP benefits
Help from disability and carer organisations

If you have a Work Coach you can ask them to speak to a DEA.  If you don’t have a Work Coach you can still ask anyone at your local Jobcentre to speak to DEA and you may be offered an appointment. 

For employment support through the Job Centre, there is useful advice for looking for work here.



Pathways towards work and options at 16

There are different ways of gaining skills and qualifications for employment. 

Connexions North Tyneside have created a ‘Post 16 SEND Directory’ which outlines the choices that can be made from age 16 upwards and contains this information in one place.   

Post 16 SEND directory

Some of the most common choices from the Post 16 SEND Directory are listed below.   

Your Connexions Adviser can help in looking at the options available as next steps can depend on your areas of interest, your abilities and what you have achieved so far. 

The Post 16 SEND Directory will be updated regularly, but please note that as opportunities can change, to get up to date advice about local further education and training, and the full range of local provision at any one time, please contact Connexions

As part of thinking about Post 16 options, you should also be aware of the North Tyneside Council Post 16 Transport Policy for Learners with Learning Difficulties and / or Disabilities.  You can read this here.


Related documents


Apprenticeships combine practical training in a job with study and can take 1 to 5 years to complete depending on their level.   


Apprentices are employed, earning a wage, and gaining job-specific skills while working alongside experienced staff.  This means that an Apprenticeship route needs a learner to be ready for employment straightaway as they will be spending the majority of their time in the workplace.  


Apprentices get time for training and study related to their role which is usually at least 20% of normal working hours. 


Amazing Apprenticeships is a good source of information for those who might be interested in an Apprenticeship now, or in the future:

To look at Apprenticeship areas available and create an account/ search for vacancies and apply for apprenticeships:

To look at public sector vacancies and create an account/make applications for public sector vacancies in the North-East:

There is an Apprenticeships standard for many different job areas – the Institute for Apprenticeships lists these by sector:


Further Education

For those thinking about further education, choosing what to study and where will be an important step in planning the Post 16 pathway. 

The following information should provide a broad overview of the Post 16 options within Further Education.  For more detailed subject or course information, please see the links for individual schools and local colleges included in the Post 16 Directory.   

Sixth Forms/College

A Levels

Many young people decide to stay on at their school’s 6th form or continue their education at a local college.  If your school does not have a 6th form, it may be possible to attend a 6th form at a different school or college 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 educational options as well as other alternatives.

To follow an A level pathway, students would be expected to achieve at least 5 GCSE grades 4-9.    It is important to check what you will need with the school or college you are looking to study at.   Please note some A levels may specify a particular GCSE grade. 


Typically, a student would opt to follow three A level subjects.  Students would need to consider which subjects to study, you can think about if there a particular career path in mind, or if the preference is to look at the progression options from individual A level subjects. 


Vocational Courses

A vocational course has more emphasis on a broad industry sector and can be studied from a Level 1 course through to a Level 3.  The level of entry will depend on the GCSE qualifications already achieved and the learning needs.  Maths and English will also be included if someone has not yet achieved GCSE at a Grade 4 in either, or both, subjects.


T Levels

T Levels are a brand-new technical qualification for 16-19 year olds. They take two years to complete and are equivalent to 3 A Levels. They have been designed in collaboration with employers and include a minimum of 45-days industrial placement. T Levels offer a mixture of classroom learning and ‘on the job’ experience and the aim is to support young people to develop their skills, knowledge and to thrive in the workplace.


Over the next three years, there will be 24 different T Levels available to study, covering everything from agriculture to catering and engineering to science. Assessment is through a combination of exams, projects, and practical assignments. Individual schools and colleges set their own entry requirements.


Students that choose to study a T Level will be able to go on to further study at university or college, take on an apprenticeship, or enter the world of work. Students that enter the workplace may be supported by their employer to continue their studies too. Connexions Advisers will discuss readiness for the workplace for anyone who might be considering a T Level as a pathway. 


Foundation Learning

Foundation Learning programmes are for young people, aged 16 to 24, with special learning needs or learning difficulties who could benefit from further support in developing their individual skills whilst preparing for adulthood.

Through the Skills Builder Framework, students are supported to understand their existing skills, identify gaps and the next steps that will help improve essential skills further.

Foundation learning helps develop self-confidence, skills for independence, social skills, employability skills (including work tasters) and develop functional skills in maths, ICT and English


Typically, there will be four pathways within Foundation Learning:

Preparation for independence
Preparation for employment
Preparation for vocational studies
Preparation for education

Progression from foundation learning can be onto a Level 1 or Level 2 course.

Individual college websites have helpful information about their SEND learning offer:

Tyne Coast (Tyne Met & South Shields Campus)

Newcastle College

Gateshead College

Northumberland College

Kirkley Hall

If you require transport support you may be expected to attend the nearest college that offers the course you plan to do. 


Ignite your Potential: A Preparation for Adulthood Study Programme

Ignite Your Potential is part of North Tyneside Council’s Employment and Skills service.  There are four levels programmes for SEND learners aged 16-25 years old. To express an interest in Ignite Your Potential courses you must have an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP).

Ignite Your Potential programmes can be suitable for those who would like to develop their employability skills further and undertake more work experience placements before deciding on their chosen career path. 

Learners will also undertake further study in English and Maths and attend work placements. Progression pathways following completion include supported internships, further education, Apprenticeships, part-time or full-time work, self–employment or volunteering.


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.

You can find information on the full range of Adult Learning Service Courses on the 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

Supported internships are a structured, work-based study programme for 16 to 24-year-olds with SEND, who have an education, health and care (EHC) plan. A Supported Internship will have a substantial work placement. 

Supported interns are in full-time education so are enrolled and supported by a learning provider (for example, a school or college), but spend most of their learning time in a workplace.  As an intern is in education and their supported internship work placements are part of their course, a learner will not be paid for the Supported Internship.

An internship provides the opportunity for young people to achieve sustained, paid employment by equipping them with the skills they need for work, through learning in the workplace.

Alongside their time with the employer, supported interns complete a personalised study programme delivered by the school or college, which includes the chance to study for relevant qualifications, if appropriate, and English and maths at an appropriate level.

Supported internships last for a minimum of 6 months, and up to a year. They are seen as the last step before employment and the measure of success of a supported internship is a successful transition to sustained and paid employment.

In North Tyneside the main providers who offer a Supported Internship are:

Choices College
Tyne Coast College
DFN Project Search (a new provider offer from 2023)


North Tyneside Council are working on a two-year project called ‘Internship Works’ to increase the number of Supported Internships in our area.

New – September 2024

North Tyneside Council are also working on a separate Pilot Internship Works project for SEND leaners, but who do not have an EHCP.  This will be a small pilot from September 2024.  More information will be included here once available. 


Distance and e-learning

Some young people are unable to access in-person provision and may wish to explore distance and e-learning from home.  Your Connexions Adviser can help you if you want to explore this.

In some instances, virtual provision could be the route for students to re-engage with education, improve attendance, and even return to mainstream education in the future.  For other students continuing with online learning provides the opportunity to continue in education, successfully complete recognised qualifications, and progress on to further education. 


Academy 21 and NASAI provide an online pathway with flexible support, for as long or as little as needed.  You can read more about this pathway here and here


The Adult Learning Service may also have suitable programmes. 

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.

For any information about Higher Education, UCAS (Universities and College Admission Service) is an excellent resource for exploring further courses, entry requirements and the application process. You can read about this here.

UCAS also have separate section with useful information regarding both support around individual needs and financial information.

Independant 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.  You should also discuss this with your SEND Officer, and it should be discussed at the annual review meeting for your Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) as placement at specialist colleges is rare and must be approved by the Local Authority.

Work related study programme

Connexions North Tyneside work with several local training providers who offer accredited programmes, combined with work experience.  It is possible for some study programmes for trainees who have additional needs to have further support.  What a programme entails will depend on the provision and needs identified.  

A Study Programme is a stepping stone to an apprenticeship or employment to help someone become work ready, so are aimed at young people who don’t yet have the appropriate skills or experience to step into employment or an Apprenticeship.   It gives real, hands-on experience with an employer to learn in-work skills.  A Study Programme is not paid, but expenses can be given for travel and meals.

Many training providers offer Study Programmes. 

Please speak to your Connexions Adviser to discuss the local provision. 

Enterprise and Self Employment

Some people have a skill or talent that they can turn into a small business and work for themselves. 

The Business Factory (North Tyneside Council’s business support programme) provides support to those in North Tyneside looking to explore entrepreneurship or are ready to start a business.  The Business Factory can also help grow an existing business or social enterprise.

You can see more information and contact details here.


The Prince’s Trust can provide support with 18–30-year-olds to help support starting a business.   Information on the Self employment with the Prince’s Trust is available here.

Voluntary Work

Sometimes young people undertake voluntary work as a means of gaining useful experience and skills. 

As well as gaining work experience, volunteering can help with confidence and provide an opportunity to meet people and make friends.

There are a range of opportunities available via VODA who can offer supported volunteering.  

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.