Mentor scheme to improve life chances for young people

£19.4 million to support pupils.

A £19.4 million Scottish Government fund will support a six year mentoring programme to help young people reach their full potential.

MCR Pathways charity will roll out its successful Young Scottish Talent mentoring programme and social enterprise and charity Columba 1400 will expand its values-based Leadership Academy for Young People, working in partnership to improve education outcomes, career opportunities and life chances.

A network of volunteer mentors - drawn from business, civic society and the wider public - will offer tailored support to young people through schools as lockdown eases. They will be trained to develop strong relationships that are at the heart of the programme and key to helping young people achieve their full potential.

The programme will be delivered in partnership with local authorities that wish to participate and will be part of the Scottish Government’s Young Person’s Guarantee, to provide long term support where it is needed most.

Education Secretary John Swinney said:

“Our young people have endured an extremely challenging 12 months coping with the disruption to school life caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. For some young people, this period has impacted them disproportionality, which is why we have introduced the young person’s guarantee.

“Improving the education and life chances of all our children and young people is the defining mission of this government, which is why we are funding this mentoring support package that will enable young people to reach their full potential.”

Marie Clare Tully, Chief Executive of Columba 1400, said:

‘We are delighted that the Scottish Government is enabling Columba 1400 to deepen the reach and impact of our Leadership Academies. We can now welcome more of Scotland’s impressive young people on a shared journey to explore their own values, and values-based leadership.

"The core values of Scotland’s young people will be crucial in ensuring that our communities thrive post COVID-19. Columba 1400 is honoured to play a part in creating the conditions for change – enabling Scotland’s young people to transform their schools, their communities and the future of Scotland.”

Graeme McEwan, Chief Executive of MCR Pathways, said:

"We are absolutely delighted that the Scottish Government is supporting the expansion of the Young Scottish Talent mentoring programme to thousands more inspiring young people across the country. This recognises the transformational impact of mentoring and the key role it will play in post-Covid recovery in our schools and local communities.

"We look forward to partnering with our local authorities and schools to work with volunteer mentors across the country to help our young people find, grow and use their talents and be all they can be."


The ambition of the Young Person’s Guarantee is that, within two years, every person aged between 16 and 24 will have the opportunity to study; take up an apprenticeship, job or work experience; or participate in formal volunteering.

MCR Pathways is currently operating in 72 schools across 12 local authorities. This proposal would see it increase to potentially 300 schools over a 6 year period.


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