Media release: North-East mentoring programme hits milestone as 100 mentors sign up

Iain MacRitchie

But 150 more, needed!

MORE than 100 volunteers in the North-East have signed up to become mentors to help disadvantaged young people, in or on the edges of the care system, fulfill their potential.

MCR Pathways’ Young Scottish Talent initiative was launched in the North-East in 2018, as part of the charity’s Scotland-wide expansion. Currently, the school-based mentoring and talent development programme supports disadvantaged and care-experienced pupils at six schools in the North-East – St Machar, Banff, Inverurie, Fraserburgh and Peterhead Academies, as well as The Gordon Schools. The target is to reach 250 young people in North-East secondary schools this year.

After training, mentors are matched with a young person and meet for a weekly one-hour mentoring session. The mentor’s role is to listen, provide encouragement and help their young person realise their full potential and empower them with confidence and self-belief.

Ali MacLachlan, UK director at The Wood Foundation, said: “Reaching 100 mentors is an important milestone for MCR Pathways across the North-East. These mentors will be responsible for supporting 100 of our young people to unlock and fulfil their potential. While this is fantastic, we know that there are many more young people who, through circumstances often outwith their control, lack the necessary networks, pathways and confidence to succeed as they should through their education and into employment.

“We are delighted to be offering strategic support to MCR Pathways as it rolls out its programmes nationwide. A number of our team is also signed up to be mentors. We are looking forward to embarking upon this mentoring journey, forging meaningful, supportive relationships that will help secure more positive outcomes for some of our most vulnerable young people. The mentoring relationship does not only support the young person, it will also play an important role in our commitment to the personal and professional development of our staff.”

Iain MacRitchie, founder of MCR Pathways, said:  “We are absolutely delighted that over 100 mentors have signed up in the North-East – it is a fantastic milestone.

“The programme is making a huge difference to so many young people. Our team are working hard and are very committed to helping every young person on the programme to be determined by their talent and never their circumstances.

“Our volunteer mentors come from all walks of life and mentoring is open to anyone over the age of 21.  We would be delighted to hear from local people who are interested in becoming a mentor. The programme has proved to be a positive and transformational experience for both young people and their mentors.”

MCR Pathways was established in 2007 and has the backing of the Scottish Government and the local authorities in which it operates. It currently supports almost 2,000 young people each week. The charity’s 2018 annual impact report revealed that the number of care-experienced young people enrolled in the programme leaving school and progressing to university, college or a job is 86 per cent compared to 54 per cent nationally. 

The North-East team

Two programme managers have been appointed to drive mentor recruitment in the North-East and support the development of the programme within the schools.

Barry Donaldson, ex-education support officer for literacy and former teacher in Aberdeen City is passionate about education and hopes to share this enthusiasm with the team of school-based Pathway Coordinators he has been appointed to support. Barry’s role also facilitates mentor training and support to those volunteering to work with the programme while ensuring the young people are fully represented in key decisions.

Barry said: “I was hugely impressed and inspired by the MCR Pathways impact. I have been really enthused by reading the stories from mentors and mentees. It is brilliant to see that relationships are at the forefront of everything being done.”

Sam Leys also joins the team as programme manager with a wealth of experience in the third sector. Her previous role as project manager for a local social enterprise was followed as enterprise manager in the North-East for a national charity, helping to support mentors and advise young entrepreneurs on their future.

Sam’s experience in recruiting, training and matching mentors will be key in her new role with MCR Pathways. Previously a mentor herself; Sam was even a finalist for an Inspirational Mentor of the Year, Elevator award in 2018.

Sam is passionate about helping support vulnerable young people in our communities, saying: “Young people are my passion, so working for an organisation that recognises that there is potential in all young people no matter their circumstances is a dream role for me. It’s so exciting to see the positive impact already taking place up here in the North-East. I am really looking forward to seeing how our amazing organisation will shape the future of our young people.”

Anne Heinrich, a new mentor at Banff Academy, says: “I’ve signed up to be a mentor as I’m keen to invest my time in something so worthwhile. Building a new relationship that enables a young person to believe and connect with their own design, passion, and talents in order to find their unique place and contribution in life. That’s something truly rewarding for both of us.”

Further information on the MCR Pathways programme and how to become a mentor is available at

Volunteers will be fully trained and supported – they just need to give an hour a week to change a life. At the same time they may have a life-changing experience themselves.


Issued by Headline PR on behalf of MCR Pathways

For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact Jill Creighton on: 07775 862552

Notes for editors:

MCR Pathways is a multi-award-winning mentoring programme, which helps Scotland’s most disadvantaged and care-experienced young people achieve the same educational outcomes, career opportunities and life chances as all other young people.

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. It currently has almost 1,000 mentors and supports 2,000 young people each week.

Over each of the last three years, MCR Pathways has doubled the number of young people it supports weekly and aims to be fully operational across at least 15 local authorities throughout Scotland in the next three years.

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 people’s 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 per cent of care-experienced young people nationally progressed to a positive destination, while in 2018, 86 per cent of MCR mentored care-experienced young people did. Mentoring is creating a wave of positive change, impacting Scotland’s 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. Iain’s work in supporting the country’s most disadvantaged young people was recognised as the recipient of Glasgow’s St Mungo Medal and was more recently named by AACSB International — recognised as the world’s largest business education alliance – 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

MEDIA RELEASE issued by Headline PR. You too can share your stories (aka press or media releases), on this site. Email here for more information.

Check out for your very own media releases feed…

Check out too and

Stay connected with our various twitter feeds: CharitiesDrinkEducationEnergyFashionFilmFoodGardensLegalMotorsMusicOutdoorsPropertyScience and Sports. And not forgetting FinanceTheatreTravelFestivalsVisual ArtsAberdeenDundeeEdinburghGlasgowInvernessPerth and Stirling.

Headline PR contact details…

Contact: Jill Creighton