Meet our MCR North Team

Rebecca – Regional Pathways Coordinator – Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire
Hi! I’m the Regional Pathways Coordinator covering Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire and joined MCR Pathways in October 2023. Prior to this role I worked in widening access to further and higher education. With MCR I work within the school’s team to support young people, mentors, and pathways coordinators. In the absence of a pathways coordinator in school I assist in covering their absence to ensure the programme can continue to run and get our young people and mentors matched. I also support the development of the programme and to deliver mentor training. Outside of work I enjoy volunteering for Young Scot and am currently on their YS Equity Panel looking at how to get young people ready to learn. I also enjoy weekly line dancing classes, and attending local drama performances and groups.

Laura – Programme Manager – Highlands and Islands
I joined the MCR Highland Team as Programme Manager in November 2023, coming from a private sector background. My role focuses on supporting the Pathways Coordinators in building and implementing a vibrant programme for all our young people. If you have not already, you will probably meet me at your next Coffee Conversation, but I will be steering clear of the coffee (horrible stuff!) and diving straight into the chocolate biscuits!

Gavin – Programme Manager – Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire
Hi, I am Gavin and the Programme Manager for the North East of Scotland. I have been in post since September 2023, and prior to that I was the Pathways Coordinator at Mearns Academy. I am a proud Dad to two (almost both) teenage sons. I’m also a proud coach (of around 6 years) with Mearns Youth Football Club under 14’s who all put so much effort in every week, they are an inspiring bunch, win, lose or draw! Football plays a massive part in my world, and just recently we were playing in a tournament in Spain, playing against teams from Italy, France, and…….Paisley. What inspired me there was the sportsmanship and friendliness on display, regardless of result, and something that was a truly brilliant experience. We have even been invited to Bologna for a re-match with one of the teams we played!

Abby – North Community Engagement Lead
I grew up in the Scottish Borders but went on to live and work all over the world with the British Army and then in public sector roles. In 2012, work delivered us from Australia to the Highlands and we were quickly reeled in by its beauty and unique and welcoming communities; it turned out to be a great place to raise three kids and various furry creatures! In 2016, I co-founded Wee Adventure, a SCIO to encourage family time in the outdoors for better mental and physical well being. This gave me the opportunity to build a network with many local organisations and communities across the Highlands and I am still involved as a volunteer. I’m hugely excited to join the North Team in the community engagement role with MCR Pathways, to join the drive to meet mentor recruitment targets across the northern regions. I am especially looking forward to being part of the team to bring the programme to Eilean Siar (Western Isles).

Liam – Partnerships and Recruitment Manager – Highlands and Islands
Liam is currently enjoying his new role and being part of the MCR Pathways Team.
I’m really looking forward to meeting existing partners and new business prospects across the Highlands and Islands. I’ve been absolutely blown away with the difference that mentoring makes for our young people’s prospects.
Liam is a ‘well kent’ face on the north of Scotland speaker dinner circuit as a Master of Ceremonies for charity fundraising events.
Liam has over 20 years’ experience in the commercial sector having been a former senior banker in the Highlands and President of Inverness Chamber of Commerce, before setting up his own commercial consultancy.
During the pandemic, he had to pivot and became known virally as the singing Tesco driver!

Mhairi – Senior Partnerships and Recruitment Manager – Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire

Hi – I’m Mhairi! I began my journey with MCR Pathways in 2021 as a volunteer mentor, before joining the organisation as a member of staff in March 2022. With a focus on the North region, I am responsible for building and maintaining partnerships with organisations across all sectors, with the goal of engaging volunteer mentors. Having personally mentored a young person now for three years, I’ve witnessed first hand the transformational impact the programme can have and feel very privileged I get to share my passion for the MCR programme with others!

Tina – Community Engagement Officer – Caithness

Hi I’m Tina. I recently joined the MCR team. I am based in Caithness. My new role is to recruit new mentors and support young people in my local school in Wick, working alongside Diane the Pathways Coordinator. Originally from Norfolk, where I worked in schools for over 20 years, I was called to the Highlands after several holidays here. I love the outstanding, beautiful scenery and the friendly people. Having managed a mentoring team in the past I know the dramatic positive impact having a 1:1 mentor can have on a young person’s life. I am committed to recruiting as many mentors as possible in Caithness, so every young person has the opportunity to build a positive life changing relationship. In my spare time I like to spend time with my grandchildren: organic gardening, baking, crafting and exploring the amazing countryside with our dogs Morris and Betty.

Julia – Mentor Services Manager – Highlands and Islands
I’m the Mentor Services Manager for Highlands and Islands, and I joined the MCR team back in October 2022. I live in Inverness with my husband and two adorable children who are seven and four. I swim in Loch Ness most weeks with my pal (although ‘dip’ is a more appropriate word in the winter) and enjoy playing a bit of Animal Crossing to relax. I’ve also been an MCR mentor for almost a year, and my young person has been teaching me how to speedcube, which is solving Rubik’s cubes as fast as possible. My personal best for solving a 3×3 cube is now 48 seconds, and so my other hobby is practising to bring that time down. I might even enter a competition one day!

I can’t tell you how much I love working on this programme – alongside Elizabeth, I get to spend my time looking after our lovely mentors who are willing to dedicate an hour a week of their time to a young person. I’m so lucky to do the job that I do, and to be a part of our North team.

Elizabeth – Mentor Services Coordinator – Highlands and Islands
Hi, I’m Elizabeth! I recently joined MCR Pathways as a Mentor Services Coordinator for the Highlands and Islands. I look after our mentors from when they first begin their mentoring journey, to when they are matched with a young person on our programme, and then finally to establishing a good, supportive relationship with said young person. I absolutely love getting to know our mentors on the 1:1 conversations we hold and have heard so many amazing stories from people from all walks of life! My spare time is usually spent chasing after my very cheeky jack russell terrier, Erik but I also love reading and often have at least two books on the go at any given time.

Lisa – Mentor Services Manager – Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire
I started as a Mentor with MCR back in 2019 at St Machar Academy, before joining as the Mentor Services Coordinator for Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Shetland in 2021. Then in 2022 I moved into working as the Regional Pathways Coordinator providing temporary PC cover, primarily at Peterhead Academy, and now as of 2023 I am Mentor Services Manager for the North alongside Julia but for the North-East side.

Prior to MCR I worked with the Scottish SPCA in Drumoak (and have even run into some mentors that rehomed animals from me in my time there) in their small animals, exotics and wildlife department, which has led to me currently having a Mexican Red Knee Tarantula and albino Corn Snake as pets, who are always met with mixed reactions. In the rest of my life outside of work I’m a proud nerd, have been playing video games as long as I can remember, play/judge at Yu-Gi-Oh tournaments, and recently taught myself how to crochet.

Over the 3 years that I’ve worked with MCR I’ve met many of our wonderful mentors, and am still one myself, so thank you all for being incredible support for our young people and helping us continue to change even more lives!

Lauren – Mentor Services Coordinator – Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire
Lauren started with MCR as a Mentor too, back in 2022 at Peterhead Academy, while Lisa was the Pathways Coordinator and talked her into joining us as the Mentor Services Coordinator for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire in March 2023. She’s local to the Peterhead area and has her hands full with her two daughters and schnauzer, Murphy, so works with us part-time to fit everything in.

Caroline – Head of Schools – North Region
I joined MCR in Autumn 2023. I’ve been working for around 25 years now in post
16 education, originally training blind and partially sighted people for work, then moving into further education and apprenticeships with young people and adults. I developed a particular passion for supporting people with special educational needs and care-experience into vocational training, apprenticeships and work. I have worked in specialist curriculum and support roles, as well as a Head of Employability and Skills. I love championing rural communities too, having worked much of the time protecting access to education in rural north east England. I’ve also ventured into self employment too: having not only done consultancy
and project work but also having run a successful restaurant with my husband where I learned to be a maitre d’ and sous chef. What I love more than anything is hearing the stories of individual’s success and triumphs from all walks of life, and how these people inspire us to be braver and stronger.

Outside of work, I love a laugh and a giggle. I like trying all sorts of things: from family history to organic gardening. I’m very proud to be a Freeman of Newcastle upon Tyne, but also of my very strong roots to ancestors in Scotland, from Berwickshire and Glasgow, to Buckie and the Isle of Mousa off Shetland. My family is definitely a varied crowd of hardened northerners. I mostly love a good country or coastal walk as long as it is no more than 10 miles on the flat and has a good pub or tea room at the end of it. I’ve recently tried wild swimming as part of trying to embrace turning 50, but I’m not sure how long that will last.

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