Preparing for Adulthood

What do we mean by ‘Preparing for Adulthood’?

The term "Preparing for Adulthood" is used to describe the process of moving from childhood into adulthood. It takes place when a young person moves from Children’s Services to Adult Services or when young people start to think about what they want to do as an adult. This usually happens between the ages of 14 and 25.

Most young people require support in four areas to ensure the transition into adulthood is smooth. To make it easier for you to search, the services in this section have been divided into four areas.

The Department for Education (DfE) fund the Preparing for Adulthood programme (PfA) and their mission is that young people with SEN and Disabilities have equal life chances as they transition into adulthood. For example; paid employment, housing, independent living, choice and control, friends and relationships.

You can find out more about this programme at

What are the Preparing for Adulthood outcomes?

  • Higher Education and/or employment – including exploring different employment options, such as support for becoming self-employed and help from supported employment agencies
  • Independent living – this means young people have choice, control and freedom over their lives and the support they have, their accommodation and living arrangements, including supported living
  • Participating in society – including having friends and supportive relationships, and participating in, and contributing to, the local community
  • Being as healthy as possible in adult life – ensuring access to the right health professionals who understand the young person’s learning difficulties and disabilities.

In Spring 2016, students at Harlow College created an animation explaining the four pathways under the Preparing for Adulthood programme.

Watch it here –

Involving young people in planning and determining their future – who to speak to?

Who the service provides for

Aged 14 – 25

Operational locations

  • Essex