Innovative school mentor programme launched in Clacks schools

Published by the Alloa & Hillfoots Advertiser

A JOINT venture between Clackmannanshire Council and a national mentoring programme has launched in Wee County secondary schools.

The council has teamed up with MCR Pathways, a multi-award winning mentoring programme, to launch the Young Clackmannanshire Talent Programme.

All three high schools in the county will take part.

The school-based mentoring and talent development programme will help disadvantaged young people, including those who are care experienced or on the edges of the care system, fulfil their potential.

The core of the initiative will be a 50-minute weekly mentoring session between a young person and their mentor, who will listen and provide encouragement.

Nikki Bridle, Clackmannanshire Council’s chief executive, believes this venture will be of benefit to the whole of the area and not just the young people involved.

“We think Clackmannanshire has significant and distinctive features in terms of the number of disadvantaged people we’ve got.

“This is a proven approach which will allow us to create opportunities for young people to be the best that they can be and really realise their potential.

“It will also stimulate the economic performance of the area and create opportunities for young people for the future, so this is part of that journey.”

Nikki Bridle, Clackmannanshire Council Chief Executive 

Iain MacRitchie, founder of MCR Pathways, explained how much of an impact the programme has not just on young people’s qualifications, but also their mental growth and well-being.

He said: “We are absolutely delighted to be launching our Young Clackmannanshire Talent Programme and to be working with three excellent schools in the area.

“First of all, young people are choosing to stay in school, which means we can take the number of young people getting their National 5 qualification from 58 per cent to 88 per cent.

“What we see as a by-product of that is that their confidence, self-esteem and self-belief increase all increase.”

Picture Courtesy of MCR Pathways MCR Pathways is an organisation setup by founder Iain MacRitchie to support young people. Pictured are the MCR Pathways supported young people with founder Iain MacRitchie. Media Release - Embargoed until 2pm, April 18 2019 Young Scots host MCR Pathways National Conference - School-based mentoring programme continues to expand into new regions across Scotland Ð - Deputy First Minister, John Swinney to join Q&A Session - The award-winning mentoring charity, MCR Pathways, is hosting its second National Conference on Thursday April 18. The theme of the conference is Brave: Not Broken, and will explore young peopleÕs mental health and well-being. Young people will present the conference and lead attendees through a series of presentations, interviews and workshops, designed to consider the challenges facing todayÕs youth from their perspective. John Swinney MSP, will join a panel, including Fiona Duncan, chair of The Independent Care Review. Sir Harry Burns, Profession of Global Public Health, and Maureen McKenna, Education Chief, Glasgow City Council, to respond to questions from young people. The conference will be attended by over 400 guests, including policy makers, business people, politicians, educationists and mentors, who will hear how the MCR mentoring model is transforming lives throughout Scotland. Through mentoring MCR Pathways helps disadvantaged young people in or on the edges of the care system to realise their full potential. Founded in Glasgow in 2007, MCR Pathways currently operates in all Glasgow secondary schools as well as schools in Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, North Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, and West Dunbartonshire. Speaking ahead of the National Conference, Deputy First Minister, John Swinney said: ÒThe MCR Pathways project provides crucial support for care experienced children and young people across Scotland and some of the results of the programme have been truly inspiring. ÒClosing the attainment gap is this governmentÕs number one priority and school-based mentoring schemes like the MCR Pathways programme have a significant part to play in helping us achieve this aim. ÒWe are making progress but know there are still many challenges facing young people in care and that they are not always able to access the same opportunities as their peers. That is why we are providing almost £33 million of Attainment Funding over the lifetime of this Parliament to specifically target support for care experienced children and young people.Ó Iain MacRitchie, founder of MCR Pathways, said: ÒMentoring is making a huge difference to the lives of disadvantaged young people throughout Scotland. Our second National Conference is a milestone and I am delighted to welcome the Deputy First Minister and our other guests to this amazing event. ÒIt is such an honour to watch young people thrive when they become part of the MCR Pathways programme. Over each of the last three years we have doubled the number of young people we support each week to 2,000. It is our intention to continue to increase the number of young people we help until we reach every one across the country. ÒWe are always looking to recruit more volunteers. ItÕs simple, by devoting 50 minutes a week to listen, build a trusting relationship and help a young person to find their talent, people can make a life-changing difference. All people have to do is give an hour and they can change a life.Ó Find out more about the MCR Pathways programme and the conference by visiting ENDS Issued by Headline PR on behalf of MCR Pathways For further information, please contact Jill Creighton on 07775862552 NOTES TO EDITOR MCR Pathways is a multi-award-winning mentoring programme, which helps ScotlandÕs most disadvantaged and care-experienced young people achieve the same educational outcomes, career opportunities and life chances as all other young people. At the core of the MCR Programme are 50-minute weekly in-school mentoring sessions between a young person and their mentor, who listen and provide encouragement. Mentors from all walks of life and include company directors, taxi drivers, and Council staff. All commit to supporting a young person in school for a minimum of a year, ideally two. Mentors are trained and supported by MCR to listen, encourage and build positive relationships with their mentees. Age is also no barrier with as many mentors under 35 as over 65, with most at the peak of their careers. Mentoring has proved to positively and profoundly impact the mentors as much as the young person. The success of the programme has been gathering nationwide acclaim. MCR Pathways has won multiple awards including the People Make Glasgow Inspiring City Award and have since received the UK-wide Leaving Care Award from Children and Young People Now. External research shows that MCR mentoring has made a significant impact on young peopleÕs confidence, belief and self-esteem as well as on school staying-on rates, attainment and progression to positive destinations - college, university, and employment. For example, in 2013/2014, only 54% of care-experienced young people nationally progressed to a positive destination, while in 2018, 86% of MCR mentored care-experienced young people did. Mentoring is creating a wave of positive change, impacting ScotlandÕs schools, community, and country. The Programme was set up by Iain MacRitchie, a Glaswegian and now a social entrepreneur who previously advised over 100 businesses and acted as executive chairman/CEO of 18 different companies during his career. In 2007 Iain set up his charitable foundation and has dedicated five years as a full-time volunteer to establish MCR Pathways nationally. IainÕs work in supporting the countryÕs most disadvantaged young people was recognised as the recipient of GlasgowÕs St Mungo Medal and was more recently named by AACSB International Ñ the worldÕs largest business education alliance Ð as one of the 2019 Class of Influential Leaders. The MCR Programme is actively supported by the Local Authorities in which it operates as well as the Scottish Government, Civil Service and Health & Social Care Partnerships, universities and colleges, employer bodies in Chambers of Commerce and Developing Young Workforce (DYW) teams and a growing number of key Scottish organisations including Edrington Group, JP Morgan, Lloyds Banking Group, STV, Vodafone and the Wheatley Group. As well as one-to-one relationship focused mentoring, MCR Programme works with young people through group work and their Talent Taster Programme which introduces young people to work, Higher and Further Education, and Arts and Sports experiences. For more information please go to and listen to people tell their stories here Copyright © John Linton 2019 All rights reserved 07986592673

The programme is looking for mentors to volunteer and Iain was happy to explain how beneficial the programme is for the mentors as well as the students.

“We underestimated the impact on the mentor,” he said. “The evidence shows not only are they feeling better, they are more engaged when they go back to their work.

“For me, it takes me out my comfort zone to a place I know matters to someone who needs what I can potentially offer so there’s a sense of achievement and fulfilment.”

Clackmannanshire Council is hoping to recruit 250 mentors over the next two years.

There is no age limit for mentors and people from all walks of life are encouraged to join.

Full training and support will be provided by MCR.

Anyone who is interested can sign up to be a mentor and can do so by visiting or contacting 0141 221 0200.

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