Aberdeen City Council and award-winning charity, MCR Pathways, have joined forces to expand a life-changing mentoring Young Aberdeen Talent programme in six schools across the city.
The charity will help young people in Aberdeen, including those who are care-experienced or otherwise identified by the school as vulnerable, to build aspirations and fulfil their potential.
St Machar Academy has been part of the programme since August 2018, and in the wake of its success, is now joined by Northfield, Hazlehead, Dyce, Harlaw and Lochside Academies in the innovative programme which sees volunteer mentors meet their young person for an hour each week, in school and during term time young people in S1 & S2 meet weekly with the MCR Pathways coordinator to engage in a planned programme of learning. This leads to young people in S3 meeting weekly with an external mentor to positively influence their future pathways and be a champion for the young person.
MCR Pathways is now looking for more volunteer mentors to get involved and help reach young people across the city and Aberdeen City Council will support their staff to mentor as part of their corporate parenting responsibility.
Councillor John Wheeler, Aberdeen City Council’s Education Operational Delivery Convener, said: “I am delighted that we are expanding our partnership with MCR Pathways across the city as we work together to ensure the best possible outcomes for our children and young people.
“Our partnership with MCR Pathways is important to us as they share our ambitions, as expressed in the Local Outcome Improvement Plan (LOIP), of overcoming any disadvantages and removing inequalities that stand between our young people and their ability to maximise their potential”.
Graeme McEwan, CEO of MCR Pathways, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be expanding our Young Aberdeen Talent Programme and to be partnering with six excellent schools in the area.“Our partnership with the local authority will make a huge difference to so many young people, directing vital support to those who need it most. Lockdown has deeply affected our most vulnerable young people and they need our support now more than ever to ensure that everyone has the chance to succeed. The MCR team are committed to helping every young person on the programme to be determined by their talent and never their circumstances.
“The impact of the MCR Pathways programme on improving attainment levels and positive destinations for young people is transformative. The support of a mentor is unmatched in boosting young people’s confidence, self-esteem and belief that they can achieve their goals. Mentors can make a life changing difference in just an hour a week. “Right now, we are looking for 150 mentors in Aberdeen. Our volunteers are from all walks of life; anyone can be a mentor, you just need an hour a week and to care. We’d also love to hear from local employers who would like to support staff in becoming mentors. Mentors and their employers gain massively from the experience for relatively little time commitment.”
MCR mentoring is making a statistically significant impact on educational outcomes for Scotland’s most disadvantaged young people, many of whom are now even more at risk to a widening attainment gap since the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The charity’s impact is measured by young people’s staying-on rates, attainment and progression to positive destinations.
This expansion in the city follows the Care Review’s recommendations which highlighted the vital need for relationship-based practice in schools across Scotland, including mentoring, to better support young people with experience of the care system.
Established in 2007, MCR Pathways provides support to almost 2,500 young people throughout Scotland each week and the programme has recently expanded into 12 local authorities. The Scottish Government is now being called on to make MCR mentoring a permanent feature of the education system and a right for every care-experienced pupil.
Further information on the MCR Pathways programme and how to become a mentor is available at www.mcrpathways.org. Volunteers will be fully trained – they just need to give an hour per week to change a life.