The transitional advocate role has been in place at Southend Mencap since the year 2000. It was introduced as a pilot scheme to ascertain the need for transitional support for young people with learning disabilities in their final year of school. Since then, the need for the role has increased and three of the local schools open their premises up to the transitional advocate to deliver the project: Cedar Hall School, Thundersley; The St Christopher School, Leigh-On-Sea; Lancaster School, Southend-On-Sea.

The transitional advocate delivers the ‘Your Choice’ workshop and it is a workshop that he has designed himself. He runs a 12 week course across each of the three school terms, Autumn, Spring and Summer. Interest for the workshops is advertised to the young people at the start of each school year and then suitable numbers are allocated to each 12 week term course. Therefore, throughout the school year the transitional advocate delivers the project to three separate groups of young people with learning disabilities.

As mentioned above, the ‘Your Choice’ workshop was designed by the transitional advocate with it being an aid for the young people when they leave school. It covers a variety of topics that the young people will either encounter or have already encountered in their lives. It is a support for the young people to ensure they have a plan about their future after school.

The objective of the workshop is for the young people to produce their own portfolio specifically designed about themselves. This will cover details about their past and present and along with the support of the transitional advocate, they will be able to include a piece on their own plan for the future e.g. job prospects, family thoughts.

At the end of each twelve week course, the young people will have produced their own portfolios to take with them for their future and start to build on what they learnt from the workshop. They are also awarded certificates of achievement once they complete the course.