Clarification on the role of MCR Pathways’ Coordinators and Mentors

The Council remains committed to supporting mentoring in our schools, including the support that is currently delivered through the MCR Pathways programme.

Highland Council is currently undertaking a review of Employability Support provided by a number of different council services and how these relate to the work carried out by external partners and in our schools. The key benefits of the review will be a reduction in duplication of activity and a one-stop shop approach to employability support, advice and guidance. This will also help deliver efficiencies in service provision.

Mentoring and support work taking place in our schools is an essential part of preparing young people for life after school. The work of our local Highland Council co-ordinators, as well as the hundreds of mentors in school settings is hugely valued. We will continue to work with them to build on these successful programmes and improve pathway and transition planning between schools, partners and adult employability services, to secure a positive destination for all our young people.

It is recognised that there are a number of very similar initiatives in place across Highland.  As part of our ongoing review, the Council will end the contractual arrangement with Glasgow-based MCR Pathways, in order to redesign our provision and deliver a Highland-focused, Highland co-ordinated approach, which will include post-school employability services.  

The council-employed Pathways co-ordinators involved in delivering the MCR programme will be retained, to continue their work and to help with the redesign of this new approach.  There will be no compulsory redundancies as part of this redesign work.  We will also be working closely with the many mentors across the Highland area, to ensure that they continue to be trained and supported in their mentoring work.

The new model will be designed to ensure a more effective and locally responsive system of engaging with our young people, and a report will be brought forward in May 2024 to set out the redesigned approach and the role of all teams and commissioned services in delivering it. 

The notice period given to MCR Pathways was intended to allow for a managed transition so that our Coordinators could be engaged in the development and delivery of the new model and the mentors and, most importantly, the mentees they work with would see no disruption in the support provided to them.  In addition, in a situation where the contract allows for the Council to withdraw without any notice, the intention was to provide time to assist MCR pathways Management to adjust to this change as well. 

The Council is committed to delivering as smooth a transition as possible.  It will be for MCR Pathways to determine whether they will work with us on this or withdraw their support immediately.  Whatever their decision, our coordinators will remain in place, as will our support for the mentors and mentees.


14 Mar 2024