Council told: young lives can’t afford cutbacks on vital mentoring service

First published in TFN on Monday May 6 2024.

New report and high court judge back vital mentoring programme

An organisation facing a funding crisis has announced a new CEO and deputy CEO at the same time as publishing a Report that sets out the transformational impact of its mentoring programme.

Sharon McIntyre has been appointed as CEO having been responsible for over 1,000 staff and school based career advisers at SDS (Skills Development Scotland) as Head of their CIAG division (Career Information, Advice & Guidance).

She is joined by Melodie Crumlin as deputy CEO. Crumlin worked with Inspiring Scotland and before that was founding CEO of award winning Glasgow based charity PEEK (Possibilities for Each and Every Kid).

McIntyre said: “Ensuring every young person is defined by their talent and never their circumstances is personal. It matters. It is a definition of a developed country and skilled economy and what we expect as a minimum standard and core value.”

Glasgow City Council

In February Glasgow City Council said it was considering cutting funding dor the Pathways mentoring scheme.

Founder Dr Iain MacRitchie warned that the consequences “would be felt for a lifetime” by young people across the city.

The report shows that for skills development and employability, 82.9%% of care experienced young people who were mentored progressed to university college or employment on leaving school. This contrasted to an estimated 69.1% for those not mentored.

Overall 85.9% of all MCR young people mentored progressed to university, college or employment. A previous 3 year independent study on MCR found that 81.6% of those mentored progressed in contrast to 56.3% who were not mentored.

Given the mental health crisis feedback from young people themselves revealed 95% said their mentor was a good role model with 93% saying it helped them build trust. 83% said it improved their confidence with 85% saying they believed in themselves more.

Throughout the year over 5,000 young people were supported each week across city, town, rural and island settings. This number has now risen to over 6,000 nationally across 130 secondary schools.  

It comes as a leading Scots judge appealed to council leaders to continue to fund a scheme that “keeps young people away from people like me.”

Lady Rae, who is the University of Glasgow’s Rector, said she had been involved in the project at its inception and wanted to intervene, “as someone with knowledge of young people who are greatly disadvantaged”.

She writes: “The assistance I seek is to right a wrong which risks writing off this generation and future generations of Glasgow’s most disadvantaged young people

“I need not repeat what was said by the press. I was shocked to see it.

“What that support does for young people is just amazing. It helps many move forward with hope for their future, to realise that they can achieve goals.

“It can also keep them in education and, importantly, away from people like me in the day job!”

She added: “As a solicitor, advocate and judge I have seen so many young people ending up in the criminal courts because they have had no guidance, no proper parenting and often no structure in their lives.”

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