IntoUniversity learning centres inspire young people to achieve. [Photo: Martin Shields]

Opening up opportunities into university

Gaia is from Philadelphia, USA and is a first-year student at UofG.

Jamie is from Maryhill, Glasgow and is in his last year of primary school.

On the face of it they don’t seem to have much in common. But they have been matched as part of the IntoUniversity mentoring programme, where students such as Gaia become positive role models to inspire and support school pupils to reach their full potential.

IntoUniversity is an educational charity which provides local learning centres where young people are inspired to achieve. Three new IntoUniversity learning centres have recently opened in the heart of some of Scotland’s most disadvantaged communities as a practical response to the poverty and educational limitations that can impact the lives of young people growing up there. The centres are a ground-breaking collaboration between the University of Glasgow, the University of Edinburgh and IntoUniversity to provide additional educational support to those aged 7-18. 

Gaia and Jamie have had their first meeting at the Maryhill Hub, home to the IntoUniversity Maryhill, the third Scottish centre to be opened in the last year. The first two centres launched in Govan, Glasgow and Craigmillar, Edinburgh.

“I hope to help Jamie with his social and academic skills,” says Gaia. “And I hope to impress on Jamie the idea of university as an option he might wish to explore.”

"I really look forward to continue getting to know Jamie and to be able to give back to my new city.” Gaia 

“Gaia is really nice and I am looking forward to her being my mentor,” says 11-year-old Jamie, who attends IntoUniversity Maryhill along with his 9-year-old sister Rosie. “I hope she will be able to help me with homework and maybe other things like help about studying as I will be going to secondary school later this year."

As part of the partnership, the IntoUniversity mentoring programme provides young people attending the centres with positive role models and the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Our student mentors, who sign up for a minimum of ten sessions, provide one-on-one support to their mentee and give them the chance to develop their social skills, explore their future options and improve their academic attainment.

Amna Ahmed is the Mentoring and Enrichment Coordinator at IntoUniversity Maryhill: “It is such a joy to watch the confidence of a young person grow after each meeting with their mentor; even the simplicity of having someone to talk to can do so much for their development.”

This article was first published June 2022.

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