Published by the Greenock Telegraph
By Clair Amber Young
A GROUNDBREAKING new mentoring scheme which helps young people find the right road to success has been launched in Inverclyde.
The motivation, commitment and resilience pathways programme is now up and running at Inverclyde Academy and at Notre Dame High.
The initiative pairs disadvantaged young people up with volunteer mentors from businesses and organisations all over Inverclyde. Together, the mentors and pupils set aside time for an hour-long chat every week where they discuss possible career paths.
Brian McLaughlin, chief executive of Morton in the Community, has been paired up with Inverclyde Academy pupil Ryan Lothian, 16. The duo have been sharing their thoughts on all things football and beyond in their weekly chats for almost a month. Brian says he’s enjoying sharing his knowledge and career experience with Ryan and now wants more of the team at Morton to get involved in the MCR project.
He said: “This is a completely new experience for me and I’m really enjoying it.
“Ryan has the freedom to talk about his career aspirations and to ask questions about a potential career he’s really interested in.
“We talk a lot about the skills he has and how he can develop them if he wants to get into working in sport.
“It’s great for him to be able to speak to someone a bit removed from school and family life, and for him to get a bit of a time out from school.
“I’ll be sharing the mentoring experience with the team at Morton and hopefully we’ll get some more volunteers.”
Ryan was approached by the school about getting involved in the mentoring programme and said he thought it would be a good opportunity. He told the Tele: “Brian and I have a lot of the same interests and it’s been great to hear about what it’s like working in sport.
“I really want to build a career in sport – if not as a player then as a coach.
“I’ve really enjoyed the sessions so far.
“They give me a bit of time out of classes to gather my thoughts and think about the future.
“The sessions are definitely helping my life as a whole.”
MCR Pathways support begins with career chats and confidence-building sessions in S1 and S2, and from S3 to S6 pupils get the opportunity to meet a mentor.
Nicola Smith, MCR Pathways programme manager for Inverclyde, says mentors and pupils are carefully matched to ensure the process is useful and productive. She said: “The programme supports care-experienced young people and a range of young people who face challenges in life.
“We have 25 Inverclyde Academy pupils involved at the moment and we want to build that up over the next two years.
“The mentors provide a trusted, listening ear and are committed to helping the young people develop and use their talents.”