Media release: MCR Pathways appoints CEO and chair as it reaches 75 secondary schools

Graeme McEwan

AWARD-winning mentoring charity, MCR Pathways, today announces the appointment of Graeme McEwan as CEO, with founder, Iain MacRitchie, taking on the role of chair.

The charity also announced it will shortly be operating in 75 secondary schools across 12 of the country’s leading local authorities and is committed to expand that number much further. By the end of the school year, it will support over 4,000 of the country’s most disadvantaged young people each week.

The charity is now working with local and national government on ways to permanently embed the MCR model in the education system. Glasgow City Council have already made this commitment and other local authorities are expected to follow, given the transformational impact of the MCR Programme on the attainment and progression of the young people.

Iain MacRitchie commented: “We are absolutely delighted to have Graeme as our CEO for the next stage of our plan to reach every care experienced and disadvantaged young person across the country.

“The benefits on both attainment and wellbeing from that special one-to-one MCR mentor relationship are profound. Not just for the young people but also for the mentor and their employer. We will soon publish research findings on significant social and economic impacts, much needed as we emerge from the pandemic.

“The partnership with our schools and local authorities is exceptional and Graeme’s extensive management and leadership experience, combined with his passion to help our young people, will ensure relationships continue to grow and flourish. Graeme has been working with us since February and has already made a big difference in the toughest of times for our young people.”

He continued: “2020 has been a hugely challenging year and as evidenced in the results of our recent survey, our most disadvantaged have been disproportionality and unfairly impacted. The MCR Pathways team is even more determined to ensure young people are determined by their amazing talent and potential and never their circumstances. This is the first of a series of planned steps to embed the MCR model as a permanent and publicly owned part of the education system.”

Commenting, Graeme McEwan said: “I was attracted to MCR because of its unique approach and effectiveness in addressing long-standing issues that limit our most disadvantaged young people. Its partnership model with schools and local authorities means that support is directed to those most in need and is combined seamlessly with education provision.

“The impact of the MCR Pathways programme on improving attainment levels and positive destinations for young people is outstanding and independently assessed by one of Britain’s leading social research institutes.

“The true transformation for me, however, comes in boosting the confidence, self-esteem and belief of young people who are encouraged to be the best that they can be in life. I am passionate about using my experience and connections to push ahead the work which has already begun on reaching more young people in Scotland.

“MCR’s recent survey from over 1,000 young people on their experience of lockdown shows the growing need to build a fairer, more productive and inclusive society. This is such an exciting time to join this inspiring and dedicated team.”

Graeme has worked as a senior executive in a number of international companies and was, most recently, the chief communications officer at Standard Life Aberdeen plc, where he managed the global Corporate Affairs function.

Graeme is a board member of Developing the Young Workforce, the Scottish Government’s youth employability strategy and has worked with educators, employers and government to build programmes which ensure that young people, especially those from disadvantaged or challenging backgrounds, are supported in the transition from school into further education or employment.

He is also vice-chair of the Standard Life Foundation, an independent charity that helps low income families to tackle financial problems and improve their living standards.

Throughout his career, Graeme has been passionate about helping organisations to build a stronger social purpose and place it at the heart of their strategic objectives. He is a ‘social mobility’ champion and his focus over the last decade has been youth development and employability work. This reflects his belief that equal access to further education and employment is the key to ensuring that all young people are given the same opportunities to progress in life.

Notes for editors:

MCR Pathways is a multi-award-winning mentoring programme helping Scotland’s care-experienced and disadvantaged 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 supports over 2,400 young people each week and across 75 schools in 12 local authorities.

At the core of the MCR Programme are 50-minute weekly in-school meetings between a young person and their mentor, who listens and provides encouragement. MCR adapted quickly to the COVID-19 lockdown closure of schools and is now also providing opportunities for young people to keep in contact via virtual mentoring options.

A three-year independent study conducted by ScotCen, using internationally-renowned research methods, was published in January 2020. The findings show an average 25.3 percentage point increase in the number of care-experienced mentored young people progressing to university, college or a job. The full report can be found here.

The MCR Programme is actively supported by the local authorities in which it operates as well by the Scottish Government, multiple universities and colleges and a growing number of key Scottish organisations.

For more information, please go to and or MCR’s YouTube channel to hear young people, mentors and partners tell their stories.

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