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Pathways boss Ian MacRitchie, Councillor Ian Dickson and Education convener Karen Conaghan celebrate the introduction of the programme.

By Lizzie Healey

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, fulfil 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 in Dumbarton.

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 roll out, 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 offer any additional support to ensure our pupils can excel in their education regardless of their circumstances.”

Laura Mason Ed official.jpgLaura Mason, Chief Educational Officer, pictured left, 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, 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 are already working hard and very committed to help 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 a 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% compared to 54% nationally.

MCR Pathways’ vision is that every care-experienced and disadvantaged young person in Scotland gets the same education 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

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