The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has helped launch a pioneering partnership which will see uniformed and support staff act as role models to care-experienced and disadvantaged young people across Scotland.
By joining forces with school-based mentoring charity MCR Pathways, the SFRS has become the first emergency service organisation to sign up to the programme.
A number of firefighters and members of SFRS support staff have already joined the scheme, which sees volunteers use their experience to help a young person realise their full potential; empowering them with confidence and self-belief.
MCR Pathways helps over 2000 young people every week achieve the same educational outcomes, career opportunities and life chances as their peers.
It currently operates in Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen, Clackmannanshire, Edinburgh, Glasgow, North Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire and West Dunbartonshire and currently supports 2000 young people each week. The organisation’s vision is for further expansion across Scotland in the near future.
Liz Barnes, director of People and Organisational Development for the SFRS, said: “As a committed corporate parenting organisation we are proud to support MCR Pathways.
“We encourage our staff to become a mentor with MCR Pathways and be part of the vision to create equality of outcomes for education employment, life chances and opportunities for Scotland’s young people.”
Sandy Gillespie is a Group Commander with the SFRS and has been mentoring for two years. He said: “These are young people who require assistance and a direction in life and I think a fire officer with their variety of skills and what they’ve seen could have a dramatic effect on these young people’s lives.”
Founder of MCR Pathways, Iain MacRitchie, said: “Our programme is well established and has proven to be a positive, and transformational experience for both young people and their mentors, and we look forward to welcoming new mentors from Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.
All volunteer mentors will be trained locally before being matched with a young person who they meet for a weekly 50-minute mentoring session.