There are different options available for your child to consider when they leave school.
Options your child can access
If young people are interested in working as soon as they leave school, there are several ways that they could do this.
There are several supported employment agencies across Wales. They help young people with additional learning needs to find and maintain employment. They may offer support with applications, supporting a young person to learn how to travel to work and some will also offer a job coach. Job Coaches work alongside a young person helping them to familiarise themselves with the tasks. Supported employment agencies in Wales are:
ELITE - South, Mid and West Wales
Agoriad - North Wales
Young people could apply for vacancies advertised online, in the press or through organisations such as Job Centre Plus or Careers Wales. Careers Wales staff can provide support to young people who are looking for work. This may include where to look for vacancies, how to complete application forms or CVs and advice and information on interview skills.
If your child has a disability, they may be able to apply for Access to Work to get support or equipment.
Colleges offer a wide range and level of academic and vocational courses. Colleges can provide additional support to students with additional learning needs to help them get the most out of their course. This support is based on a person’s needs but could include personal helpers, help with basic skills such as Maths and English, exam support, equipment, note takers, communicators or providing work in Braille or large print.
Colleges also offer courses that have been designed for students who need support to develop their skills and career ideas. These courses vary but students are often taught in small classes and the programmes of study are tailored to meet a young person’s abilities. Broadly these courses aim to prepare young people for adult life by offering vocational tasters, the chance to get qualifications, improve skills in Maths and English/Welsh and communication. Some students start with this type of course and then move onto a mainstream course.
There are full time and part time courses available at college. Full time college courses are usually 3-4 days a week.
If local colleges are not able to meet your child’s additional learning needs, they could consider specialist colleges provision. There are specialist colleges offering day and residential placements across Wales and England.
The process for making decisions about funding specialist college placements is changing. Under the new Additional Learning Needs and Educational Tribunal Act (ALNET) the decision regarding whether or not a specialist college placement is needed for a young person will sit with the local authority. The Act is being implemented over a number of years and affects this funding application process in the following way:
|Academic year||Year 11 leaver||Year 12 leaver||Year 13 leaver||Year 14 leaver|
|2022-23||Decision made by the local authority||Decision made by Welsh Government||Decision made by Welsh Government||Decision made by Welsh Government|
|2023-24||Decision made by the local authority||Decision made by the local authority||Decision made by Welsh Government||Decision made by Welsh Government|
|2024-25||Decision made by the local authority||Decision made by the local authority||Decision made by the local authority||Decision made by Welsh Government|
|2025-26||Decision made by the local authority||Decision made by the local authority||Decision made by the local authority||Decision made by the local authority|
Where the decision is made by Welsh Government then the Careers Adviser will make the application for funding. Information on this process can be found on Securing post-16 education for young people with learning difficulties: guidance for Careers Wales | GOV.WALES on the Welsh Government website.
Where the decision is made by the local authority they will be able to provide the process that they are following to make a decision. Welsh Government guidance for local authorities can be found on Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Act 2018: guidance for local authorities on interim arrangements for specialist post-16 additional learning needs placements on the Welsh Government website.
Jobs Growth Wales+/Training
If a young person is interested in working but either isn’t yet ready to enter employment or needs to gain work experience, they could join the Jobs Growth Wales+ programme. This offers young people the chance to gain work-based skills and qualifications in a training centre or with a local employer. They may also gain valuable work experience and maybe even a paid job in some cases.
There are three different levels of training open to young people on Jobs Growth Wales+:
- Engagement – this programme gives young people the opportunity to develop their skills, work on their Maths and English and build their confidence and communication. Whilst on engagement they are also able to gain vocational tasters and may get experience of the work place with an employer
- Advancement – if a young person is ready for a work placement and knows what type of work they would like to do they could start to work towards a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) at Level 1
- Employment - if a young person is ready for work, they can get help to apply for a paid job placement on Jobs Growth Wales+
Young people who have additional learning needs can access support to enable them to complete their training. These needs would be agreed with the Careers Adviser who would then share this information with the training provider.
Apprenticeships are a way of getting experience of work, getting paid and gaining qualifications. There are different levels of apprenticeship from a Foundation Apprenticeship where people work towards a level 2 qualification through to degree level apprenticeships.
Find out more about the Welsh Governments Inclusive Apprenticeships - Disability Action Plan for Apprenticeships 2018-2021.
Search for apprenticeships on the Apprenticeship Matching Service.
If a young person wants to work but isn’t yet ready for paid employment, they could enter voluntary work. This can help to develop skills and confidence as well as providing useful work experience. Volunteers get involved in all sorts of projects and activities. The amount of time a person spends volunteering can range from a one-off involvement to a regular commitment of time each week.
Day Services Provision
For some young people day services may be the most appropriate option. Day services are provided by the local authority social services department or voluntary organisations. There are a number of options, depending on what is available in the local area but typically these may include:
- Daily living skills
- Leisure and recreational activities
- Vocational training
- Community and voluntary projects
- College links
- Work experience
Social services assess a young person’s needs and discuss the options available. If you are interested in exploring this option, you would need to discuss this with your social worker or contact your local social services department.
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Find out what things you should be thinking about to help you support your child with planning their future.
Find out more about what transition planning meetings are and how you can best prepare for them
Find out the support available from Careers Wales to help you and your child plan for the future.
Find out the many agencies that support young people with Additional Learning Needs (ALN) and their families.
Find out about the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal Act Wales 2018 (ALNET).