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Preparing for adulthood

Young people on computer

Some people feel a little worried about growing up and leaving school.

It is sometimes easier if you start to think about what you want to do after school early on and so you can start to make some plans. You should be involved in this planning for preparing to becoming an adult.

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Our site is designed to be used by people with disabilities. However, you may find that you need additional tools to assist you.  Ability.Net has information on free resources for vision, hearing, motor and cognitive problems.

Where to study, train or work

Once you turn 16 you can leave school, however until you are 18 you must either be in education, start an apprenticeship or traineeship or spend 20 hours a week or more working or volunteering while in part time education or training, options you can choose from are:

You can get specialist advice about work and disability through a Disability Employment Adviser at your local Jobcentre Plus office.  This adviser can help with assessments, work plans and advise on schemes such as Access to work and Workchoice.  Information is also available on the National careers service website who have career tools to help you with your choices on careers, training and work. 

The aim transition is to enable a smooth and seamless transition for young disabled people between Children’s Services and Adults Services, always putting young people at the heart of the process and aims to provide support in the transition to adulthood and independence.


Apprenticeships combine practical training in a job with studying find out more on the South West apprenticeships website and GOV.UK

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)

It takes one to four years to complete the apprenticeship.

You could visit your local college website to find out more about the apprenticeship schemes they offer:


Many young people with SEN will move from their school or college at age 19.  Some may continue in a specialist college, whilst others may want to consider university.  The UCAS website has lots of useful information to help students.

Starting work

National Minimum Wage (NMW) - There are many rules and regulations that apply to the NMW you can find out more via GOV.UK website, your pay tax and National Minimum Wage.

Preparing for Adulthood website

The website provides lots of useful information about options for young people they produce a guide which provides information about options for young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) to help them move into paid employment

Preparing for Adulthood routes into work guide

How to apply for an Education Health & Care Plan (EHCP)

Find out how to get help through applying for an EHCP

Money matters - benefits and financial support

Benefits and financial support you could get are:

  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA) if you’re under 16 
  • Disabled Students Allowance if you’re over 16
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP) if you’re over 16
  • Universal Credit if you’re 18 or over
  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)  if you are over 18 and your illness or disability affects how much you can work

If you have a carer they could get:

  • Carers Allowance if they care for you at least 35 hours a week and you get certain benefits
  • Carers Credit if they care for you at least 20 hours a week

Disabled Students’ Allowance

If you’re over 16 and in education, you can apply for Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs) to help you with day to day costs.

This does not affect your student finance, which is money you may be able to borrow to help pay for university or college fees and to help with living costs. 

You can apply for Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSAs) if you live in England and have a disability that affects your ability to study.

This may be a:

  • learning difficulty, for example dyslexia or ADHD
  • mental health condition like anxiety or depression
  • physical disability, for example if you’re partially sighted or have to use crutches
  • long-term health condition such as cancer, chronic heart disease or HIV

You’ll need to give proof of your disability or condition.

You must also:

  • be taking a full-time or part-time undergraduate or postgraduate course in the UK (including Open University or distance learning) that lasts at least a year
  • qualify for student finance from student finance 

Find out more about and apply for Disabled Students Allowance on the GOV.UK website. 

Disability Living Allowance

If you’re under 16, you can apply for a Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to help you with day to day costs. 

You can apply for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) if:

  • you have a physical disability or a learning difficulty or mental health support needs
  • you need someone to support you, or you have difficulty walking and getting about
  • you have needed this support for at least three months and it’s likely to continue for at least another six months 

You can find out more about and apply for Disability Living Allowance on the GOV.UK website. 

When you are 16 years old you'll need to move from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payment

Changing from DLA to PIP

Changing from the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) If you are 16 or over and claiming Disability Living Allowance (DLA), your benefit will change to Personal Independence Payment (PIP). You will have to be assessed for this, even if you have a lifetime or indefinite award of DLA.

PIP (Personal Independence Payment) is the benefit that's gradually replacing DLA (Disability Living Allowance).  For everyone else aged 16 and over, DLA will stop and you'll need to claim PIP instead - even if you have a 'lifetime' or 'indefinite' award for DLA. You won't automatically move over to PIP.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is money for people over 16 who have extra care needs or difficulty getting around as a result of a disability. You could get between £23.30 and £148.85 a week. The amount you get depends on how your condition affects you. A health professional will work out the level of help you can get. 

Find out more and how to claim a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) on the GOV.UK website.

Universal Credit

If you’re over 18 you might be able to claim Universal Credit. You’ll need to get a medical certificate from your doctor, known as a statement of fitness to work, or a ‘fit note’.  The group Contact have more information about what Universal Credit is and where to get advice before you apply.

Employment and Support Allowance

If you’re 16 or over and your illness or disability affects how much you can work, you can apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). This can include:

  • financial support
  • personalised help to get back into work

The GOV.UK website tells you how to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). 

Citizens Advice - North Somerset

Citizens Advice North Somerset provides free, independent, impartial and confidential advice on a wide range of issues, including employment, housing, welfare benefits, money advice, relationship breakdown, court action, immigration and consumer problems.

Independent living

At the age of 16 years young people can leave home with or without their parent's consent. 

There are a wide range of services to support you with your housing needs, our housing options tool can provide you with information that can help.

Housing related support

Housing related Support can mean many things, from budgeting, paying the rent on time, help to deal with specific problems such as tenancy issues, liaising with council, government or health services, finding local services, training or jobs, adapting a home for disability or finding an alternative home. It also helps with signposting to a range of specialist services. This link will take you to a list of services that may be suitable for you.

Find out more about housing related support and floating support.

Personal Budget and Direct Payments  – a  personal budget is ‘a pot of money’ created after an assessment if the council decides you need any kind of support.  You can choose to either have this money given to you as a direct payment to find your own care or the council can manage this money for you to find the care. A mixture of the two is also possible.  Find out more information on our personal budget and direct payments pages

Home care and Personal Assistants  – provide a range of support including help with washing, dressing, toileting, shopping and meal preparation. This support can be accessed through a home care provider who will provide a care worker for you or you can employ a personal assistant (PA).  Find out more about personal assistants and home care

Shared lives

Shared Lives Shared Lives gives people with a learning disability, a physical disability, mental health difficulties or other health or sensory disabilities the opportunity to live in a family home with ordinary people who will support them to be part of their home and community. Shared Lives allows individuals to live as part of a family, giving them opportunities to do the things they would like to do.   Find out more about shared lives.


WECIL (West of England Centre for Inclusive Living), is a local organisation which can give you useful advise on living independently

How to vote

Once you are 18 you will be able to vote in general and local elections.  This means you can have your say on issues and politics.

Local elections

Local elections give adults the chance to choose who represents them in their towns and councils - basically, at a more local level.

General elections

A general election gives adults in the UK the chance to have a say on which party runs the country.  General elections are supposed to be held every five years under something called the Fixed Term Parliaments Act.

You can find out what services North Somerset Council is responsible for on our website, and you can find out how to contact your local councillor. This page has information on what things different types of local council are responsible for and how they make decisions.

You will need to register to be able to vote this can be done on the GOV.UK website


Home to school transport

For children and young people of statutory school age, we provide free travel to school in some specific circumstances. Transport is usually discussed as part of an Education, Health and Care Plan assessment and our SEN Team will explain whether you are likely to be entitled and who will be organising your travel. 


You typically need to be 17 before you can hold a licence to drive a car. However, if you received the higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA), or enhanced rate mobility component of Personal Independence Payments (PIP), you can hold a licence from the age of 16.

Motability can help with the cost of driving lessons but only for customers of the Motability Scheme; up to 40 hours of driving lessons may be available for those who receive certain means tested benefits (Income Support, Income related Jobseekers Allowance, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit, Income-related ESA.  Find out more on the Driving Motability website

Diamond travel card

Our Diamond travel card allows you or your compagian to use buses to find out more about how and when you can use it and how to apply see our page Diamond travel card

Planning your trips

You can find out about the trains and buses near you, and plan how to get to other places using Traveline South West.

For more information on travel and transport visit our page on the Local Offer

Going out and making friends

Getting out and about, taking part in activities and events is a great way to do things with friends or as a family.

You may want to visit leisure centres or visit a park or beach.  You can find out more about these on our website

You can join the safe places scheme which is run by Avon and Somerset Constabulary

Mental health and wellbeing

The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) is designed to protect and empower people who may lack the mental capacity to make their own decisions about their care and treatment. It applies to people aged 16 and over.

It covers decisions about day-to-day things like what to wear or what to buy for the weekly shop, or serious life-changing decisions like whether to move into a care home or have major surgery.

For information about mental health and wellbeing, visit Live Well on the NHS website. This includes a set of simple steps that anyone can take to improve their wellbeing, or find out who locally can support you by visiting our online directory

Where to get help

Supportive Parents is the SENDIAS service for children, young people and their parents, they offer support groups information on a variety of issues such as EHCP's, education, housing and finance.  They provide confidential information, advice and support to young people and can direct them to specialist support.

Schools and colleagues - all maintained schools and PRUs must ensure that pupils from Year 8 until Year 13 are provided with independent careers guidance.  FE colleges and sixth form colleges are required through their funding agreements to secure access to independent careers guidance for all students up to and including age 18 and for 19- to 25-year-olds with EHC plans – so there should be someone that you can contact in school/college to support you.

Young Victims Service (YVS) is for young people aged 5 to 18 (can be up to 25 for those with additional needs) who want help and support when they have been victims of (or affected by) crime, anti-social behaviour or domestic abuse. 

Contact a Family - They have lots of useful information about preparing for adult life.

For more information on where to get help and advice why not see our Local Offer pages

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