Trio of corporates put weight behind initiative to help young people in Scotland

Three major businesses in Scotland are backing a “ground-breaking” collaboration that aims to transform young lives in communities in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Sunday, 2nd May 2021, 7:00 am

As part of the tie-up between education charity IntoUniversity and the universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh, Accenture, Baillie Gifford and Cairn Energy have all pledged “significant” financial support to the launch this year of three learning centres in Govan and Maryhill in Glasgow and Craigmillar in Edinburgh.

They have all also committed to providing practical support through workshops, business simulations and mentoring senior school pupils as they move into higher education or another chosen aspiration.

The businesses will help London-based IntoUniversity provide after-school academic tuition, mentoring and “aspiration-raising” programmes, while the new learning centres will be based in “the heart of communities experiencing disadvantage”, looking to inspire young people to harness the power of education to transform their lives.

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IntoUniversity runs local learning centres that it says are inclusive of all academic abilities. Picture: contributed.

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IntoUniversity centres – the organisation’s first in Scotland – will work closely with local schools, colleges, universities and businesses. The organisation added that young people experiencing disadvantage are likely to have lost several months’ learning during the pandemic, “and will be facing a more challenging job market and tougher economy, potentially knocking back their plans for tertiary education and entering the world of work”.

Pupils in Scotland lost out on an estimated 16 weeks of lessons over the two coronavirus lockdowns, according to one report.

IntoUniversity says that in 2020, 71 per cent of its students secured a university place compared with 26 per cent of school-leavers from similar backgrounds

Dr Rachel Carr of IntoUniversity says the backing of Accenture, Baillie Gifford and Cairn Energy is a 'tremendous boost'. Picture: contributed.

The organisation’s chief executive and co-founder Dr Rachel Carr said the backing of the three firms is a “tremendous boost to our work and will result in exciting opportunities for young people in Glasgow and Edinburgh to explore future careers”.

James McCann, corporate citizenship lead for Accenture in Scotland, said: “We share IntoUniversity’s goal of unlocking the potential of our next generation of young people through digital skills education.

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"Leveraging the knowledge and experience of Accenture’s Scotland team, as well as our passion to give back to the community, we’re supporting the launch of the new IntoUniversity centres across Glasgow and Edinburgh—through virtual volunteering, pro-bono support, mentoring and grant funding. We look forward to seeing IntoUniversity’s vision come to fruition here in Scotland, and are pleased to be supporting this initiative.”

Sam Pattman, sponsorship manager for Baillie Gifford, said: “‘We all know the power that education has to transform lives, and that should not solely be the preserve of those who come from more privileged backgrounds. It should be available to all, which is why we are backing IntoUniversity.

"The recent pandemic has highlighted just how much we need a service like this, to support those who have been left behind over the past year. As long-term investors, IntoUniversity’s long-term commitment to helping young people access education in order to change the course of their lives chimes with our approach to community engagement.”

Also commenting was Matthew Bowyer, charity committee member at Cairn Energy, who said the business “thrives” on discovering hidden potential. “IntoUniversity’s fantastic work is doing this day in and day out, by helping talented young people to access the education they need to fulfil and exceed their ambitions.”

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