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What is the project about?

Getting a Life was a three-year cross government project (April 2008 to March 2011), set up to show and drive change so that young people with a severe learning disability achieve paid employment and full lives when they leave education. It focused on what needs to happen during the vital transition period between ages14 and 25 to create better job outcomes.

Twelve demonstration sites each worked with 30 young people, their families and the local system, analysing how the current transition process works and why young people do not go into employment. Young people, families, and multi-agency teams in the sites, developed an employment pathway based on evidence of what helps young people with a learning disability go into employment and the real experiences of young people and their families. young people at workAlthough the central programme team disbanded on 31 March 2011, the local sites are continuing to implement this pathway to employment, which is leading to better value for money, improved outcomes, and a better experience for young people and their families. Some regions have added “associate sites” which are also adopting the approaches set out in the Getting a Life pathway.

Who was involved?

The three-year programme was funded by four government departments: the Department of Work and Pensions, Department for Education, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and the Department of Health. It also received support from the Office of Disability Issues. The central programme team was based in the Department of Health.

Locally, a range of agencies were involved in the projects, including children’s and adults’ social care, schools, colleges, Connexions, Jobcentre Plus, supported employment agencies, and user-led organisations. Young people and their families were at the centre of the local teams. They were represented on the project teams and took part in Working Together for Change days to co-produce local map of areasaction plans.

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Development programme for local sites

A development programme was offered to each of the areas around the country involved in Getting a Life.  The programme included support on these areas:

Young people’s and families’ leadership programme
The young people’s leadership programme supported young people and their families to aspire to paid employment, and to think about what kind of support they need to get the lives they want

The leadership programme was run by the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities, and two independent disability consultants: Tricia Nicoll and Wendy Gross.

Inclusion Web
A one-day training session on using the inclusion web in conjunction with person-centred transition planning and evaluation took place in each area involved in Getting a Life.


Person Centred Reviews and Assessment

Sites were offered a training course, with support from a course trainer to put the learning into practice.  The course was aimed people who facilitate person-centred transition reviews and assessments for young people involved in the Getting a Life programme.  The training was run by Helen Sanderson Associates.

Person Centred Approaches in post-16 settings
In each area of the country involved in Getting a Life, a special course provided training for people in post-16 settings to support young people.  The training focused on practical support to use person-centred thinking tools and approaches in the post-16 learning context.

Support for Employment
The Getting a Life programme is providing support for each of the sites to develop a pathway to employment for young people with learning disabilities.

This programme will help each local area to deliver customised supported employment.  Sabre Employment provided this support.

Working Together for Change
This is a one-day training session in how to use the information gathered from each of the young people involved in the Getting a Life programme to inform local strategic plans and ultimately change systems so that barriers to employment and full lives are removed.  This training was provided by Helen Sanderson Associates.

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Project Plan

The project plan shows in a graphic format what the Getting a Life project is going to achieve and how we are going to achieve it. To download a larger version of the plan click on the image below or click here >>link opens in new window

project plan


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Expected outcomes

This image shows the expected outcomes of the Getting a Life project over the three years.
Click the image to download the complete version or click here >>link opens in new window

outcomes image

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Context map

Getting a Life took place in the context of lots of different government strategies and legislation.  The context map shows the local and national priorities, strategies and ways of working which impacted on the project.
Click herelink opens in new window or on the image below for larger version.
context map

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Transition Planning

The transition into work diagram shows a way of thinking about transition planning across agencies at a local level to ensure that young people find a paid job and get a full life.
Please click herelink opens in new window or on image below for full details.
transition planning


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website © Getting A Life 2011