Becoming an adult and preparing for the future


Preparing for adulthood is a process that all young people go through when they move on from being a teenager and become an adult.

It can be an exciting time of new opportunities, choices and increased independence. But it can also be a difficult and uncertain time for young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and require more careful consideration and planning.

In Brent, we want young people with SEND to maximise their potential by achieving the best possible outcomes in adult life. This is why it is especially important that they, along with their families, are actively involved in the planning and decision-making process as they approach this time in their lives.

This section of our Local Offer has information and advice about four key areas, which nationally, young people with SEND have said are important to them.  

Use the tabs above to find out more about:

  • Higher education and/or employment and training - including exploring different employment options, such as support for becoming self-employed and help from supported employment agencies
  • Independent living - enabling people to have choice and control over their lives and the support they receive, their accommodation and living arrangements, including supported living
  • Social inclusion - including having friends and supportive relationships and participating in, and contributing to, the local community
  • Staying healthy - achieving optimum health and wellbeing in adult life.

In Year 9 at school we will start person-centred transition planning around the young person's needs.

Further information about Brent’s transition planning protocol

Brent is committed to providing the best and most appropriate services to young people with SEND as they approach the transition to adulthood and beyond.

We appreciate, however, that it can be a challenging time for parents. To help you, we are in the process of drawing up a transition planning protocol, which sets out how this important stage in a young person's life is managed. This document will set out the responsibilities that different agencies, parent/carers and young people have to ensure that effective planning and positive outcomes for young people can be achieved.

The services that might be involved include:

  • Children with Disabilities Team (0 to 13 years)
  • Transitions Team (14 to 25 years)
  • Adult social care services
  • Schools
  • Further education (FE) colleges
  • Housing services
  • Brent Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)
  • Voluntary sector organisations

View more information about how professionals and parents can help young people prepare for the future.

Higher education and employment

Once they reach 16, young people need to start planning for the next stage of their education.

Although young people all need to be in some form of education or training until they are 18, this does not mean they have to stay in school, and there are a number of options they can consider:

  • Full-time education (e.g at a school or college)
  • An apprenticeship or traineeship
  • A supported internship
  • Part-time education or training combined with employment or volunteering.

Personalised support

Transition into post-16 education, employment or training for young people with SEND should start being discussed with them at their annual review meeting when they are 14 years old and in Year 9 at school. Discussions should focus on what you would like to do and what will need to be put in place to help you achieve your goals. You and your family should be at the centre of any discussions and planning for your future to make sure that your wishes are included and that any support is suitable and meets your needs.

Making decisions

When you reach the age of 16 and are no longer of compulsory school age, the law gives young people the right to make their own decisions about the support they receive. Parents can continue to be involved if the young person is happy for them to do so and they have the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.

In the event that a person needs support to make a decision about a specific issue, we can refer them to advocacy support.

Brent SEND Information, Advice and Support Service (SENDIASS) has independent supporters that can provide impartial advice and information to young people at this time.

Educations options

Staying on at school

You may choose to continue your education at the school you currently attend if it has post-16 provision. The school will already know what additional support you need and can continue to support you, but now following a post-16 curriculum.

Post 16 colleges and further education

You could decide to carry on your studies at a local further education (FE) college. There are many providers within the local area offering academic and vocational courses that support young people towards independence and employment and build on their skills and interests.

If suitable provision is not available in Brent, it may be possible to access a place at an independent special school or post-16 college outside the borough.

The Department for Education has a list of registered independent schools and colleges for pupils with special educational needs approved under section 41 of the Children and Families Act. 

High needs funding

Students attending a further education college or independent education provider may be entitled to receive funding if they are identified as having ‘high needs’.

Higher education

If you opt to go to university to continue your education, your school should give you advice about which subjects to study in order to prepare for a degree course and how to apply for university.

University applications are made through UCAS and include a personal statement which the applicant should write in order to show that they have the enthusiasm and relevant study skills. A teacher at your school or college will be able to help you with writing a personal statement and completing an application form.

Universities should provide additional support for students with SEND. To find out what support is offered at a particular university, visit their website and search for ‘student support’ or ‘disability’. UCAS also offers advice about the support which should be available to students with disabilities.

It may be possible for you to get additional money to support your studies through Disabled Students Allowances (DSAs) depending on your circumstances.

For further information on a range of topics relating to disabilities and further education visit Disability Rights UK.

Brent Connexions service (now Prospects)

Brent Connexions service (now Prospects)  provides information, advice and guidance to support the future career and educational aspirations of unemployed young people in Brent aged 16 to 19 (up to 25 for those with SEND).

This is a free service and operates from a number of drop-in centres across Brent. Connexions advisors can help with:

  • Post-16 options through one-to-one careers guidance interviews
  • Developing employability skills such as building CVs, completing application forms, interviews techniques etc.
  • Providing careers information on how to find specific jobs
  • Making referrals to opportunity providers who offer apprenticeships, traineeships and other forms of training
  • Completing transition forms for young people with a learning difficulty and/or disability who are planning their next steps.

Find your nearest Connexions centre

Work and training

Supported internships

Supported internships are a structured study programme based primarily at an employer. They enable young people aged 16 to 24 with a statement of special educational needs, a learning difficulty assessment or an education, health and care plan to achieve sustainable paid employment by equipping them with the skills they need for work, through learning in the workplace.

Supported internships are unpaid and last for a minimum of six months. Wherever possible, they support the young person to move into paid employment at the end of the programme. Alongside their time at the employer, young people complete a personalised study programme which includes the chance to study for relevant substantial qualifications, if appropriate, and English and maths.


Apprenticeships combine practical training in a job with study. As an apprentice you will:

  • Work alongside experienced staff
  • Gain job-specific skills
  • Earn a wage and get holiday pay
  • Study towards a related qualification (usually one day a week)
  • Apprenticeships take one to four years to complete depending on their level.


A traineeship is a course with work experience that gets you ready for work or an apprenticeship. It can last up to six months. You can apply if you are:

  • Eligible to work in England
  • Unemployed and have little or no work experience; and
  • Aged 16 to 24 and qualified below Level 3

You will get:

  • Help with English and maths (if you need it)
  • A work experience placement.

You won't be paid, but your employers can sometimes give you expenses for things like travel and meals. Visit for more information.

Brent Start

You could also enrol on an adult education course with Brent Start. Whether you’re taking the first step to employment, looking for a career change or learning a new skill, we have a wide range of courses to suit every learner.   

Our courses are split into three categories and are taught at four main centres across the borough.

  • Skills for life – English, Maths, ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) or family learning
  • Skills for employment – courses to help you into a job or to help career progression
  • Leisure and wellbeing – learn something new, bridge a skills gaps or gain foundation skills for other courses

Many of the courses lead to nationally recognised qualifications in fields including childcare, accounting, bookkeeping and IT. Brent Start also offers courses in basic computer skills, job searching, CV writing and interview techniques for those wanting to improve their job prospects. Support and advice to help you choose the right course is available at any of our learning centres.

Support to get into work or when in work

We want to support people with SEND to find work and lead independent lives.
Our employment portal has information about:

  • The latest job opportunities
  • Current employment programmes
  • Tips and advice from recruitment experts
  • An employment directory of organisations that can help you find work
  • Employment events
  • Application and interview skills

You can also search for local job and apprenticeship opportunities across a range of sectors.

Other national organisations offering advice and support to people looking for employment include:

  • Evenbreak is a not-for-profit social enterprise which aims to help disabled jobseekers find work with employers who will value their skills and support inclusive companies to attract more talented disabled people.
  • Remploy a specialist employment service for people with disabilities.
  • The Association of Disabled Professionals provides networking opportunities and shares good practice for self-employed disabled people and those setting up their own businesses.

Some people may be entitled to in work benefits or support via Access to Work.


Community inclusion and participation

Friendships, relationships and being a part of the community are really important to a young person's quality of life.

The activities, sports and things to do section of our Local Offer is a good place to find out what is available in the borough. It includes details about the wide range of mainstream services we offer, as well as provision which caters specifically for young people and adults with SEND.

You can also search for specific activities, clubs, groups, holiday programmes and short break facilities by:

If you receive a direct payment from us as part of your care package, you can use it to help you get involved with your local community.


Volunteering is a great way to gain skills, build up confidence, achieve goals and make new friendships.

There are opportunities in Brent and opportunities in London. Other organisations offering volunteering opportunities include:

  • Leonard Cheshire Disability runs a volunteer scheme for ten to 35-year-olds with a long-term health condition or disability.
  • Volunteering Matters works in partnership with local organisations and businesses to help disabled people actively volunteer (via supported volunteering if necessary) and contribute to their community.
  • Vinspired helps young people to make their mark on causes that they care about, whilst learning new skills and talents along the way.
  • National Citizen Service (NCS) helps 15 to 17-year olds build skills for work and life while taking on new challenges and meeting new friends.
  • The British Red Cross ( offers volunteering and other schemes for young people.
  • The Prince’s Trust has many volunteering ideas.
  • TimeBank recruits and trains volunteers.

Social media and staying safe

Social media is a good way to keep in touch with friends and family, especially if you go off to do different things when you leave school. But it is also important to make sure that you are safe online.

The Childline and NSPCC websites have lots of really useful information to help protect you from cyberbullying, sexting and inappropriate content.

There is also an easy read guide to staying safe on social media and online from the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities and information about how to protect yourself from online bullying from the Anti-Bullying Alliance.

Staying safe in the community

People with a learning disability may suffer from hate crime or a type of disability hate crime called 'mate crime'. This easy read guidance booklet provides information about these crimes and how to prevent and report them.

For many of us, it can be a real problem if we do not feel safe and comfortable when we are trying to do something. This is the same when we are out into the community; we need to feel safe and supported, and this could include simple things like:

  • Plan where you would like go and how you are going to get there
  • Take a mobile phone if you have one, and the phone number of someone you trust
  • Take some money in case you need to make a phone call from a public phone
  • Take only the money you expect to need, keep some in your wallet or purse and some in your pocket
  • If you have one, take a personal attack alarm
  • Are your personal belongings, like your phone, wallet or purse kept in a safe place on you, like your bag or pocket
  • If possible, have you told someone you trust where you are going and when you expect to be back
  • If you can, go out with a friend or someone you know

The Home Office has produced a booklet about things to think about to help you stay safe, both at home and when you go out.

We also work with other agencies in the borough to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people. 

Have your say

There are plenty of opportunities to have your say in local decision - making by getting involved in our user forums, consultations and participation panels.

Brent Youth Parliament (BYP) represents over 77,000 children and young people living in the borough and encourages them to express their views and have a say on decisions that affect them. 

Other organisations include

  • British Youth Council empowers young people aged 25 and under to influence and inform the decisions that affect their lives.
  • UK Youth Parliament provides opportunities for 11 to 18-year-olds to use their elected voice to bring about social change.

Travelling around

Information on disabled people’s rights when using public transport is available on the GOV.UK website

There are some discount schemes and passes that young people may be eligible to apply for:

  • A disabled person's bus pass (sometimes called a free or concessionary pass) can be used for free off peak travel on any local bus in England, including London.
  • A Disabled Person's Railcard offers one third off most rail fares throughout Great Britain for those who are eligible.

There are also lots of accessible transport options in London to help you get around:

  • Freedom Pass lets you travel for free if you live in London and have an eligible disability.
  • Transport for London travel mentoring service offers advice on planning journeys with accessible routes, and help for people with mobility scooters and aids on bus services. Mentors will even come along for your first journey!
  • Zip Oyster lets young people travel for free or at discounted rates.
  • 18+ Oyster Card gives people over 18 get 30 per cent off travel cards, bus and tram passes.

Some young people with a disability can drive a car at age 16 if they get, or have applied for, the enhanced rate of the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP). View more information about driving from

Also view information about Blue Badges, disabled parking spaces and getting around in Brent and further information about home to school travel

Staying healthy

As young people with SEND prepare for adulthood, there are many changes for them to negotiate, including how their healthcare is managed as they move from children's to adult services. This includes looking at services that may no longer be available once they reach 18, and identifying and putting in place alternative healthcare provision to support them.

The aim is to ensure that they have a needs assessment completed as early as possible to help ensure a seamless transition and continuous support to adult health services for young people who need them.
Young people who receive priority when moving to adult health care services include:

Transition to adult healthcare services for young people with continuing care funding

A key aim with transition for these young people is to ensure that a consistent and continuous package of support is provided for them both during the years before, and after, the move to adulthood.

The nature of the package may change because the young person’s needs or circumstances change. It should not change simply because the young person is moving from children’s to adult services or between organisations with commissioning or funding responsibilities.

Where change is necessary, it should be carried out in a phased manner in full consultation with the young person and their family. No services or funding should be withdrawn unless a full needs assessment has been carried out in respect of both adult health and social care services.

Age 14

When a young person with children's continued care funding reaches the age of 14, their case will be jointly reviewed by their social care worker and a continuing healthcare nurse assessor. 

Age 17.5

When the young person reaches 17.5, the Transitions Team or a health care professional will complete a checklist to see if continuing care funding is still needed at this stage. This assessment is done in consultation with the young person and their family/carer.  

If it is, the young person will move over to the adult continuing health care service and this arrangement will be reviewed annually.

Young people who are not eligible for continued care funding will have their health needs met by their GP, although if their circumstances change, their doctor can refer them back for another assessment.

Other health needs identified in education, health and care (EHC) plans

There may be a variety of other health needs that are included in a young person’s EHC plan. These will be continually reviewed and assessed by professionals as part of transition planning in schools from Year 9 onwards to identify what support the young person will need as they prepare for adulthood.

Independent living

Young people with SEND may start thinking about living independently as they get older.

It is very important that they have choices and control when making decisions about their lives. For young people with an education, health and care (EHC) plan, independent living options will be discussed with them as part of their transition planning from Year 9 onwards.

Whether someone can live independently depends upon their ability to be able to make decisions on their own. This ability is called ‘mental capacity’ and will be assessed by social workers or other professionals.

Supported living

Brent provides a range of supported living schemes for adults aged 18+ with high care and support needs. 

Support at home for young people with physical disabilities

We provide support at home for young people with physical disabilities via direct payments

An assessment is carried out by an occupational therapist (OT) to establish if the young person is eligible to receive support.

Depending on what needs are identified, the OT may make a referral for a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) to help adapt the home environment and promote the young person’s independence. If only minor adaptations are required, the family will be advised to purchase the equipment, if it does not fall within the category funded by the local authority. Information and advice will also be given. If the OT identifies other social care needs, an ongoing care package will be put in place for the young person.

Home Ownership for people with Long-term Disabilities (HOLD)

If you have a long-term disability the HOLD scheme in England could help you buy any home for sale on a shared ownership basis (part rent/part buy). You could buy a share of your home (between 25 and 75 per cent of the home’s value) and pay rent on the remaining share.

Shared Lives

Vulnerable young people and adults may also be able to access the Shared Lives scheme. This involves finding them a home with a suitable carer so they are able to live more independently and also feel part of a family and a community. They may need support because they have autism, dementia or other mental health problems. Our Transitions Team will be able to give you more information about this as a possible option.

Social housing

If you are interested in renting a council or housing association property in Brent you must register first. It is not always the right option for everyone and many people face a long wait. We will always give priority to those with the greatest housing needs.

Useful links