Media release: Pioneering school mentoring programme launches in West Dunbartonshire



You are invited to send a photographer/ reporter to  the launch of MCR Pathways Mentoring Programme in West Dunbartonshire Date: Tuesday March 12 2019 Location Clydebank Leisure Centre, Garth Dr, Clydebank G81 1BF Timing: Photography/ Interviews 12.30pm

Mentors and mentored young people will help Iain MacRitchie MCR Pathways founder and West Dunbartonshire Council’s Claire Cusick senior education officer, Iain Dickson chair of Education, Karen Conahan vice chair of Education with the launch. Props will be available for photography.

WEST Dunbartonshire Council and MCR Pathways have joined forces to launch the Young Dunbartonshire Talent Programme.

The school-based mentoring and talent development programme will help disadvantaged young people, in or on the edges of the care system, fulfill their potential.

Initially, the MCR Pathways Programme will be delivered in two West Dunbartonshire schools, Clydebank High School and Our Lady and St Patrick’s High School. At the core of MCR Pathways are 50-minute weekly mentoring sessions between a young person and their mentor, who listen and provide encouragement.

Launching in West Dunbartonshire is the latest leg of MCR Pathways’ national rollout, which will see it reach 3,000 of Scotland’s most disadvantaged young people.

Convener of Education, Councillor Karen Conaghan, said: “West Dunbartonshire Council is pleased to work in partnership with MCR Pathways to offer disadvantaged pupils one to one support to help them flourish not only at school and through their education.

“This mentoring could also help them in their personal lives. We have many talented young people in our schools and we want to ensure all children are given every chance to succeed and reach their full potential.”

Councillor Ian Dickson, vice convener of Education, said: “This new mentoring programme will be welcomed at schools by both pupils and teachers. As a council, we are committed to offering any additional support to ensure our pupils can excel in their education regardless of their circumstances.”

Laura Mason, chief educational officer, said: “I am pleased to welcome MCR Pathways to our schools and I’m sure both our pupils and teachers will benefit from the school-based mentoring programme. We are committed to ensuring all our pupils are given the support, encouragement, and skills to progress well through school and on to higher education or training.”

Iain MacRitchie, the founder of MCR Pathways, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be launching our Young Dunbartonshire Talent Programme and to be working with schools in the area.

“The partnership with the council is inspired and will make a huge difference to so many young people. Our team is already working hard and very committed to helping every young person on the programme to be determined by their talent and never their circumstances.

“We have already seen in other local authorities across Scotland that mentors can make a life-changing difference to our most disadvantaged young people. At the same time, they gain massively from the experience.

“We would be delighted to hear from local people who are interested in becoming a mentor. The programme has proven to be a positive and transformational experience for both young people and their mentors.”

MCR Pathways was established in Glasgow in 2007 and has the backing of the Scottish Government and the local authorities in which it operates.

It currently supports over 1,500 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 54per cent nationally.

MCR Pathways’ vision is that every care-experienced and disadvantaged young person in Scotland gets the same educational outcomes, career opportunities, and life chances as every other young person.

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

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 chair/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

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