MEMBER NEWS: MCR Pathways Announces New National Advisory Group to Help Drive Expansion Across Scotland

17 August 2018

MEMBER NEWS: MCR Pathways Announces New National Advisory Group to Help Drive Expansion Across Scotland

Prospects for Scotland’s young people further boosted by charity’s appointment of respected names across business, education, the third sector and local government. 


17 August 2018 - MCR Pathways, the pioneering school-based mentoring programme, have appointed some of Scotland’s most experienced figures in business, the public sector, education and third sector to their National Advisory Group. The Advisory Group will support the programme’s national expansion and help fully embed the MCR model within the Scottish education system. MCR Pathways was founded in Glasgow in 2007 and supports young people in or on the edges of the care system through weekly one-on-one mentoring. 

MCR Pathways’ ambition is to bring its pioneering mentoring and talent development programme to young people across the nation. By gathering experienced and passionate stakeholders from across Scotland, MCR hopes to harness their expertise to better support young people from all corners of the country.

Over the last 18 months, MCR Pathways has doubled the number of young people it supports each week to over 1,300 and currently operates its ‘Young Glasgow Talent’ programme in all 30 secondary schools within Glasgow City Council. In 2018, MCR began their national expansion, establishing mentoring in Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen schools after successful trials. It aims to reach 2,000 of the country’s most disadvantaged young people across at least 10 new Local Authorities in the next 2 years. 

To help make this ambition a reality, MCR Pathways today unveiled its new National Advisory Group, comprising of: 

  • Martin Armstrong, Chief Executive, Wheatley Group
  • Professor Sir Harry Burns FRSE, Professor of Global Public Health, University of Strathclyde
  • Kenneth Ferguson, Director, Robertson Trust 
  • David Hillier, Associate Principal and Executive Dean, University of Strathclyde Business School
  • Maureen McKenna OBE, Director of Education, Glasgow City Council 
  • Annemarie O’Donnell, Chief Executive, Glasgow City Council 
  • Lena Wilson CBE, Non Executive Director RBS Group, Intertek Group and Scottish Power Renewables
  • Sandy Begbie CBE, Group Organisation and Culture Integration Director, Standard Life Aberdeen
  • Ali MacLachlan, UK Director at The Wood Foundation
  • Iain MacRitchie, Founder & CEO MCR Pathways, Chair of MCR Foundation, MCR Holdings 

The new Group will support MCR Pathways founder Iain MacRitchie to deliver on the vision that every care-experienced and disadvantaged young person in Scotland can enjoy the same education outcomes, career opportunities and life chances as every other young person. 

Iain MacRitchie said: “I’m absolutely thrilled and very excited to announce our new National Advisory Group for MCR Pathways

We’ve been able to attract the support of some of the very sharpest minds in Scotland but, more than that, we’ve enlisted people who know the power of the MCR model and who are as committed as we are to the expansion of the work we do across Scotland. Their skills and experiences are simply world class and will have a huge impact on both practice and policy matters. We have some fantastic plans and individuals who get things done.

We all want to live in a Scotland where every disadvantaged young person is defined by his or her potential and talent and never their circumstances. I very much look forward to working towards that ambition with MCR’s new National Advisory Group.”  

Supportive quotes on joining the MCR National Advisory Group

Martin Armstrong (Wheatley Group): “Wheatley is a proud supporter and advocate of MCR Pathways, which shares our vision that young people, no matter their background or circumstances, deserve the best possible start in life.  This unique mentoring programme is helping make that vision reality and I am absolutely delighted to do what I can to embed and expand it in businesses, schools and communities across Scotland.” 

Professor Sir Harry Burns FRSE (University of Strathclyde): “The evidence is clear. One of the most powerful contributors to wellbeing in adulthood is having a trusted and supportive adult mentor during early and teenage years. Since I first heard about MCR Pathways, it has been obvious to me that the young people who are part of the programme will have the opportunity to have their lives transformed. I am honoured to be asked to be part of the Advisory Group and look forward to supporting it and the young people of MCR Pathways in any way I can.”

Kenneth Ferguson (Robertson Trust): “I am absolutely delighted to be part of the National Advisory Group.  At the Robertson Trust a major part of our strategy is working on realising potential for young people; this project does that in spades. I very much look forward to seeing how we can roll out this life changing work from Glasgow right across Scotland.” 

David Hillier (University of Strathclyde Business School): “As the first person in my family to go to university, I understand the difficulties young people from all backgrounds face in breaking out of peer networks to aspire for something better.  I have been working with MCR Pathways for a number of years and been a full supporter of the ambitions and ethos of the organisation.  To be asked to be part of the National Advisory Group is a great honour and will allow me to contribute my skills to the development of the organisation and its objectives.” 

Maureen McKenna OBE and Annemarie O’Donnell (Glasgow City Council): “We are delighted to be joining the MCR National Advisory Group.  We have seen at first hand the difference MCR Pathways can make to the young people of the city. It is great to be part of this exciting new development.” 

Lena Wilson CBE (RBS Group, Intertek Group and Scottish Power Renewables): “I am inspired by the success to date and want to do all I can to make sure I can use my economic and business skills and experiences to maximise the impact for the young people we support going forward. I really believe the future success of Scotland as a country depends on it and I am honoured to serve on the National Advisory Group.” 

Sandy Begbie CBE (Standard Life Aberdeen): “I am delighted to have been asked to be a member of the National Advisory Group for MCR Pathways. As someone who is passionate and committed to social inclusion and opportunities for all, I see MCR Pathways as playing a vital role in leading and driving that agenda. The impact of mentoring on young people is considerate, there is lots of evidence to support this. It is vital we give all young people the best opportunity to fulfil their potential, they have so much to offer and contribute to our society here in Scotland.”

Ali MacLachlan (The Wood Foundation): “MCR Pathways’ efforts are making tangible improvements in securing positive futures for some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable young people by simply giving young people protected time, care and attention. I believe the possibilities for the young people directly engaged with MCR Pathways are significant and the programme will have an impact on the future of Scotland. It is great news that the charity is rolling out its programme nationwide and The Wood Foundation is delighted to be supporting its development.”

For more information about the work of MCR Pathways including how to volunteer as a mentor, visit 









Download file