Transitions Initiatives in Highland

Highland are continuing their pro-active approach to transitions, striving to take the next steps to build on the positive work already accomplished. The voice of the young person, and their family, is of paramount importance in informing practice around transitions.

The Transitions Co-ordinator is working on initiatives upskilling supporters of young people to allow planning for transition to commence at 14. The introduction of an updated transitions protocol (and series of pathway documents) to be used by both the Highland Council and NHS Highland will allow for a consistent approach across services.

These documents and others that complement the process will be accessible to everyone involved in the transition process via Highland’s website Hi-hope is an online resource, listing opportunities for young people leaving school in the Highlands, aimed at the 14 to 24 age group.

The Transitions Co-Ordinator works closely with the Opportunities for All team and is involved in collating data allowing schools to identify those in need of enhanced support at an early stage. This means young people’s needs and wants are heard as early as possible and plans are person centred rather than a fit into existing services.

There is significant work taking place developing the young workforce and how best to support employers to give young people with ASN work experience or long term employment. Highland are working with employers to break down barriers, giving them the skills and confidence required to meet the needs of our young people.

The appointment by NHS Highland of a Project Manager for Transitions is an exciting opportunity for children’s and adult services to work together, maintaining and developing the bridging links that are vital to making transition for all young people (and their families) as smooth as possible. The Project Manager will be scoping the need for a dedicated health and social care Transitions team for 14-25 year olds, investigating how best to progress this according to the needs of Highland’s unique geographical area.

The Project Manager post follows initiatives in services including:

  • Formation of a Transitions Network in Lochaber – primarily for professionals with the view that young people and families will become involved),
  • Transitions Champions – practitioners in each area who are able to sign post others to the services best to support the young person,
  • Appointment of a transition social worker in Lochaber,
  • A team of SDS peer advisors with real life experience using SDS, on hand to support and advise young people and their supporters to use it in a person centred way
  • The CHAMPS board run by care experienced development assistants who are in the process of setting up a “one stop shop” to support care experienced young people during their transition.

The future of transitions in Highland is bright; there is a real movement, backed by enthusiastic and passionate staff, to make the process person centred, pro-active and a positive experience for young people and their families.


(Case study prepared by Jo Chamberlain – Transitions Co-ordinator, Highland Council)