|Globally, schools and governments have strong expectations for Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programmes to prepare ‘profession-ready’ graduates (Charteris & Dargusch, 2018). Such demands require ITE students to go through various transition experiences during their endeavours to become teachers. This research explored the barriers and enablers for ITE students during their initial transition into a teacher education programme in a New Zealand context. Using Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems model (1979), data were analysed to report barriers and enablers identified by students in their initial transition into teacher education. Bronfenbrenner’s ideas around layers of contexts offered appropriate explanations for how students’ dispositions and resources inter-related with features of the higher education learning environment. Data were gathered as part of a wider longitudinal project investigating well-being and resilience of people preparing for careers in caring professions. During phase one, ethical consent was gained to invite 60 ITE students to share an assignment completed six weeks into the beginning of their Bachelor of Teaching programme about their transitions into university. Thematic analysis was used to identify emerging themes related to experiences within each of Bronfenbrenner’s contexts. Transition enablers clustered around the individual and microsystem contexts, clearly highlighting how a ‘strong sense of purpose’ and ‘supportive family relationships’ facilitate effective transition experiences. Similarly, barriers were clustered within the individual and microsystems, although financial strain (attributed to the macrosystem context) also stood out as a significant transition barrier. The results of our research have highlighted both barriers and enablers to ITE programme student transitions. The challenge for teacher educators, ITE programmes, and higher education institutions more widely is to consider the extent to which they can acknowledge students’ lived realities, provide effective support to pre-empt or mitigate transition barriers, and promote students’ experiences of transition enablers. This presentation considers how these objectives might be achieved.