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Becoming an adult and preparing for the future

Higher education and/or employment and training

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 planning to help young people with SEND prepare for post-16 education, employment or training, should start being discussed with them at their annual review meeting when they are 14 years old and in Year 9 at school. The focus should be on what they would like to do in the future and what will need to be put in place to help them achieve their goals. The young person and their family should be at the centre of these discussions to ensure their wishes are included and that any support will meet their 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) also 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 education - further education colleges and providers

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. View providers.

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 (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 

These are a structured study programme based primarily at an employer. They enable young people aged 16 to 24 with an education, health and care (EHC) 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.

Benefits of supported internships:

  • Participate in a variety of placements at a high-status local employer
  • Acquire competitive, transferable and marketable job skills
  • Gain increased independence, confidence, self-esteem and friendship groups
  • Receive work-based individual instruction, coaching, support and feedback from the job coach, teacher and host business managers
  • Access to a qualification in English, maths and work skills


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

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

Find more information about local apprenticeships


traineeship is a course with work experience that gets you ready for work or an apprenticeship. It can last up to six months. You won't be paid, but your employers can sometimes give you expenses for things like travel and meals.

You can apply if you are:

  • Eligible to work in England
  • Unemployed and have little or no work experience
  • Are 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

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. 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 are available at any of our learning centres.

Support to get into work or when in work 

There is also a wide variety of information on Brent's employment portal, including:

  • The latest job opportunities across a range of sectors
  • Local apprenticeships and 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

Organisations that support people with disabilities to find work

  • Scope the disability equality charity, which provides a range of employment support services for young people aged 16+
  • Evenbreak a not-for-profit social enterprise that 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. For more information, visit the money and benefits section of our Local Offer.