Glasgow City Council pledges staff for vulnerable children project

Glasgow City Council has pledged to provide at least 10 per cent of its workforce to helping mentor vulnerable children and young people.

The council’s mentoring project was launched to provide support for vulnerable children and encourage them to stay in education, improve their grades and increase their career prospects.

So far, the scheme is already established in 15 city secondary schools, and has raised the school return rate from 31 per cent to 87 per cent. If successful, the move could see nearly 1,800 council employees become directly involved in the scheme.

Annemarie O’Donnell, the council’s chief executive, said: “All our young people deserve the very best we can offer, regardless of their personal circumstances or background. This project is not a one-off, but a long term commitment for us.

"I have set an ambitious target to engage up to 10 per cent of our employees as mentors. I know this vision will be realised as we have some amazing staff who will be keen to embrace this important role.

"Mentoring is making an incredible difference to the lives of some of our most disadvantaged young people and helping to close the attainment gap in the city and tackling some of our well documented social challenges.

"Our workforce is very diverse. Staff have a wide range of skills and experiences that could be used to support and encourage a young person who is disadvantaged through circumstances that are not their fault.

"We're asking staff to consider committing to one hour a week over two school years to be part of this amazing initiative. The rewards are plenty but it's also about staff development as well as the obvious benefits to the young person."

Iain MacRitchie, founder of MCR Pathways and its Young Glasgow Talent programme added: “This profound commitment by the Council really is a national and perhaps international first and major precedent. It is truly pioneering in every way and gives us a fantastic opportunity to provide every disadvantaged young person with the 1:1 relationship based support they need to flourish through school. It is hugely humbling and very motivating to see People Making Glasgow at this scale. It's not volunteering, it is just our great City taking care of our own.

"An hour a week is all it takes to help transform the outcomes for a young person. With the council's commitment we will reach across an entire city and for generations to come. We are seeing some incredible transformations with the most simple and focused form of mentoring. Relationship based mentoring matters and every one can. We are very committed to turn Annemarie's and the council's vision into reality and will help address the city priorities and close the elusive attainment gap. The scale of the council's bold move will inspire other organisations in the public sector, education and in business.

"Glasgow has just radically redefined what being a corporate parent means. It is simply now about being a parent committed to helping all its care experienced and vulnerable young people on an individual basis to find, grow and use their talents. Through the MCR mentoring and talent taster programmes we will bridge potential with opportunity and policy with actions and results. The city's young people will be defined by their talents and not their circumstances."