Last updated:

24th April 2024

What preparing for adulthood means

Find out what you need to start thinking about as you prepare for adulthood.

Preparing for adulthood is about the things you as a young person need to learn, so you are ready to live as an adult.

It helps you to start thinking about and planning for the future.

Being an adult means you:

  • are 18 years old or older
  • can look after yourself or you might still need help, but you know where to get help from
  • will be making decisions about your life as much as you can

These are some of the things you will need to start preparing for.

Staying in education and getting work experience

This means looking at going to college, or university, training to learn new skills or getting work experience.

This also includes finding a job, getting support to become self-employed and help from supported employment services.

Independent living

This means having choice, control and freedom over your life, the support you get, and where you live.

Community and social activities

This means having friends and supportive relationships and being active in the community.

Staying healthy and well

This means being as healthy as possible in adult life.

What to start thinking about

You should start thinking about what:

  • is important to you
  • makes you happy
  • you would like to do as a job
  • qualifications you might need
  • goals you want to achieve in life

You should start talking to others who can help, like your:

  • family and friends
  • teachers
  • social worker or other professionals

It is important to let people know your views and start planning and setting goals.

When to start planning

You should start thinking about what you would like to do when you become an adult, and make sure everyone knows about your future goals as early as possible. It is important to start planning early, so you have time to make good choices.

You can start planning when you are aged 13 to 14 and in Year 9 at school, but you can start planning earlier than this too. It is never too early to start talking to teachers and others who can help about your ideas and goals.

If you have an education, health and care plan (EHCP), in Year 9, your EHCP annual review will focus on preparing you for adulthood. This is sometimes called transition.

Transition is moving from being a child to becoming an adult. Your annual reviews will carry on thinking about preparing you for adulthood until you are 25, as long as you have an EHCP in place.

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