Mentorship scheme marks first year milestone

High school students from Craigmillar, Maryhill and Govan joined a celebratory event at the University to mark the completion of the first year of a new mentoring scheme.

Two pupils and their mentors stand in front of McEwan Hall
(L-R) Aayan Ijaz from Portobello High School, Kayleigh Dorran from St Constontine's Prinmary School, Diana Dong from the University of Glasgow and Helen Wieland from the University of Edinburgh

The pupils aged 10 to 17 were paired with students from the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow as part of charity’s IntoUniversity Student Mentoring initiative.

This is the first year the programme – aimed at pupils in Glasgow and Edinburgh in areas traditionally associated with social deprivation – has been rolled out in Scotland.

Raising aspirations

25 students and pupils matched last year, meeting every two weeks throughout the academic year. The programme aims to demystify university for young people who may not have considered it before, and help raise their aspirations.

Throughout the year, the university students led one-to-one sessions, supporting their mentee with academic skills, social and emotional development, and in considering their future. 

Supportive partnerships 

Aayan Ijaz, a first year pupil at Portobello High School was paired with Helen Wieland, a third year Psychology student at the University of Edinburgh in October 2021.

It’s been really helpful having someone to talk to, especially about subjects I don’t enjoy so much, like Biology and French. Helen and I also play games like Connect 4. I go to the IntoUniversity Centre in Craigmillar every Thursday after school to help with my homework and I really like it. I would really like to go to university one day, although I am not yet sure what I will study.

Aayan IjazPortobello High School pupil and IntoUniversity mentee 

I have loved meeting Aayan and watching his confidence grow. It has been so rewarding helping him work towards his goals. I’m really pleased that we are going to continue our partnership next year.

Helen WielandUniversity of Edinburgh student and IntoUniversity mentor

Celebratory event

More than 66 pupils and students attended the event on Saturday 28 May, where the groups’ achievements were celebrated and the pairs shared their experiences.

The pupils and students were also presented with a certificate to mark the experience.

The ground-breaking collaboration between Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities and charity IntoUniversity launched in 2020.

As well as the mentorship scheme, learning centres based in Craigmillar in Edinburgh and Maryhill and Govan in Glasgow offer educational support to enable young people to achieve their ambitions.

It is wonderful to celebrate the completion of our first IntoUniversity mentorship scheme in this way. The students have been an inspiration, bringing to life what university might be like for young people. And the pupils have been so engaged throughout – it’s been a rewarding experience for all.

Sarah FinniganIntoUniversity Regional Operations Manager (Scotland)

Related links

Get involved with IntoUniversity

Widening Participation at the University of Edinburgh

The University of Glasgow