ABSTRACTDespite the curricula developments over recent years, for some young people accessing the national curriculum is a real challenge. In response to the increasing levels of exclusion and social exclusion rates, Local Authorities have had to be creative to ensure that they can meet the needs of all children. Alternative curricula at key stage 3 and 4 have been implemented to help young people who may be disaffected from school to re-engage with learning. Although there is evidence that a number of alternative provisions are offered to young people across the country, there appears to be a dearth of research with regards to how these specific alternative provisions impact upon the lives of the young people themselves.Pupils' perspectives are clearly a very significant element in seeking to understand and evaluate educational process. In spite of this, research into the way pupils view individual alternative provisions has been limited. Also limited, is research undertaken with young people who may be seen as 'vulnerable' and 'hard to reach'.Within one local Authority within the North West, 'Trade Skills' offers one such alternative curriculum to pupils. It was developed in response to a growing need for a relevant, skills based curriculum for young people who were not able to engage with formal curricula. It offers 13-16 year old students a trade based vocational curriculum with the aim of providing the attendees with the skills and knowledge to gain a trade based career. This current study used both qualitative and quantitative methods to help provide an insight into 'Trade Skills' as an alternative curriculum. The findings suggested that 'Trade Skills' was able to meet the ECM outcomes effectively and able to offer young people with an alternative and an appropriate curriculum in relation to being able to develop their individual needs and in providing them with alternatives to more formal means of education. This study demonstrated an effective means of working with young people viewed as 'hard to reach' and 'vulnerable'. The ethnographic style in which this study was conducted is well placed within the work undertaken by educational psychologists and is a helpful means of gaining rapport and trust with a group of young people who find trusting professionals challenging.