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Travel Training, independence here we come!

2 May 2024

There are many barriers that young people face when accessing employment, education, or training, on the Altogether Now project we are recognising that independent travel is one the main stumbling blocks holding young people back. Travelling on public transport is a fantastic skill to master and a great tool to have under your belt that not only brings that sense of freedom but also opens many doors and opportunities.

Whilst their peers are transitioning to Secondary school and gaining new skills in using school buses and public transport, many young people with SEND are attending school out of their catchment areas and travelling door to door via taxi transport. Taking the steps into independent travel can be daunting, with travel training we use a systematic approach to over come these anxieties whilst building resilience and vital skills.

Recently Kym has been working on travel training with one of our Altogether Now participants, to build their confidence and access the public bus network to widen their opportunities both socially and in the world of work. Groundwork starts with negotiating our way around the use of apps, this gives us the ability to route plan, check timetables and even buying our tickets at the touch of a button on our phone. The familiarity can be a comfort and a welcome distraction for many and gives the user a sense of control in situations where there are so many variables.

Managing expectations is a big part of travel training, the unpredictability of will it be a single bus, a double decker or maybe even a coach? All different colours with ever changing promotional logos and signage. Will there be a bus shelter or just a signpost? Not to mention buses don’t always run to time, last minute delays or cancellations can throw even the best laid plans by the wayside.

Practise and repetition see us taking the same journeys multiple times, each time the participants taking more of a lead role in the process and stepping closer towards independent travel. During travel training, throwing curveballs of taking the wrong bus or getting off at the wrong stop are all tasks that help with building confidence and promoting participants to use their groundwork skills to adapt their travel plans and reach their destination.

Travel training helped me to become more confident with using public transport by myself and helped me to realise that public transport is quite easy and accessible to use

Altogether Now Project participant

If you like travelling on public transport and the idea of supporting young people to gain skills in independent travel by becoming a travel mentor, then we would love to hear from you.

I’ve since taken the bus to see my grandparents, it all went very well

Altogether Now Project participant