Last Updated: Wednesday, December 11, 2019

DYW – Interesting Practice: Flexible Pathways Programme

What is this?

​This exemplar outlines East Ayrshire Council’s Flexible Pathways Programme that offers young people at risk of disengaging from education a curriculum directly linked to the world of work. The programme allows learners to develop essential skills for learning, life and work in an employment context as well as at school in order to support  the transition into sustained, positive destinations.

This is one in a series of interesting practise examples to provide ideas, inspiration and connections around the implementation of Developing the Young Workforce (DYW).

Who is this for?

​This exemplar will be useful for practitioners involved in the planning, implementation and evaluation of the Developing the Young Workforce agenda.

It supports professional reflections around the Career Education and Work Placements Standards as well as School / Employer Partnerships.

​How to use this exemplar to improve practice

This is an exemplar showing interesting practice. It aims to inspire reflective thinking by practitioners considering alternative curriculum solutions in the senior phase. It has a particular focus on work based learning for young people disengaged from formal education. This exemplar is solution focused and outlines practical ideas on how to provide learners with the opportunity to enhance skills for learning, life and work delivered in partnership with local employers.

You are invited to use this exemplar to reflect on the following questions:

  • How effectively do you plan for career education opportunities and progression pathways for learners from 3 - 18?
  • In what ways do you ensure that you meet the needs of all learners to develop skills for learning life and work, particularly those most at risk of not progressing into positive sustained destinations?
  • In what ways does the curriculum provision and timetabling in your establishment incorporate career education for all learners?
  • To what extend are partners involved in delivering meaningful, work related experiences for learners, the delivery of skills and qualifications as well as prospective career opportunities?

For further consideration please refer to key DYW related resources released by Education Scotland so far.

What was done?

The following videos outline the key aims and objectives, as well as core components of the initiative.

Can't see this video? You can also view this clip on Glow (log-in required).

 Can't view this video? You can also view this clip on Glow (log-in required).

Can't view this video? You can also view this clip on Glow (log-in required).

Flexible Pathways Initiative ​​directly links to East Ayrshire’s Activity Agreements

East Ayrshire’s Activity Agreement model in conjunction with the Flexible Pathway Initiative provides young people with a learning offer within the local authority’s ‘Opportunities for All’ commitment.

Can't see this video? You can also view this clip on ​​Glow (log-in required).


The Flexible Pathways Programme was set up to meet the needs of a cohort of learners identified as disengaged from formal education. It aims to provide an alternative learning structure for young people in line their aspirations and interests in order to support the development of skills for learning life and work and the progression pathways into positive destinations.

What was the impact?

Positive aspects emerging from this project so far:

  • young people are re-engaging with education
  • attendance rates have improved significantly
  • young people develop essential life and employability skills
  • parents confirm improvements in attitude, motivation, behaviour and skills development.

For more information on the impact of this project please access the above film clips.


Word file: Skills summary: Flexible Pathways Programme (51 KB)