Home   News   Article

Highland Council clarifies ending of MCR Pathways contract stating 'council-employees will be retained'

By Rachel Smart

Register for free to read more of the latest local news. It's easy and will only take a moment.

Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!
MCR Pathways – which had set up a petition to save the programme – says it is 'delighted' to have received this clarification from Highland Council.
MCR Pathways – which had set up a petition to save the programme – says it is 'delighted' to have received this clarification from Highland Council.

Highland Council has issued a statement to say it 'remains committed' to supporting mentoring in schools, including the support that is currently delivered through the MCR Pathways programme.

This week, it was announced that the council was set to axe funding for the MCR Pathways programme which currently supports over 350 young people in seven schools. It was feared the jobs of those providing the support would be lost.

However, Highland Council has since clarified that council-employed staff who work on the MCR Pathways' programme will be retained and support for pupils will become streamlined.

MCR Pathways is based out of Glasgow, and Highland Council will end its contract with them in order to redesign its provision and deliver a Highland-focused, Highland co-ordinated approach, which will include post-school employability services.

The statement from Highland Council said: "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."

MCR Pathways – which had set up a petition to save the programme – says it is 'delighted' to have received this clarification from Highland Council and is 'hugely relieved' that the programme will be retained.

Iain MacRitchie, MCR Pathways’ founder said: “Our dedicated team based in the Highlands is relieved that the young people will continue to receive the MCR mentoring support that we know is transformational. My family is from Lewis and I was personally delighted to see MCR supporting our Highland’s young people to realise their potential and never be determined by their circumstances.

"We have over 15 years of experience in recruiting and supporting passionate mentors, engaging our young people and ensuring these relationships flourish and have a lifetime impact. We know there is a lot to work through, share, and put in place but we really look forward to working with the Council. Our most disadvantaged young people deserve the best of us and the best we have to offer. We are sure the Council shares this commitment and that the mentoring programme will be highly effective for many years to come”

MCR’s Highlands team has reached out to the Council to work on the transition plan. It will also communicate with the MCR mentors and partner organisations to seek views and support on how best to transition the programme.

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More