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Inspiring young people to build a confident future

Carolyn and Nicola take on Tutor Service

Carolyn McKerracher and Nicola Falconer have jointly taken over the delivery of Bridges Project’s Tutor Service. They bring a wealth of experience to their new roles.

The pair are replacing Susan Kerr, who delivered the Tutor Service until she stepped into her new role as a GIRFEC Support Worker for Bridges Project’s new Inclusion Support Service in September. Carolyn and Nicola will both work on a part-time basis, with Nicola supporting young people on Mondays and Tuesdays and Carolyn working Thursdays and Fridays. They will alternate on working Wednesdays.

Nicola is a well-known face at Bridges Project, having worked for the charity for six years until her contract as a Personal Development Tutor came to an end earlier this year. After a few months away, she is now back and ready for a new challenge.

“It is good to be back. I am ready to support young people through a challenging time when many are worried about their mental health. The challenge of remote working also brings opportunities to try different approaches and creative ideas in ways to support our young people on their learning pathways,” says Nicola.

Not only will Nicola be able to draw on her extensive experience with Bridges Project when supporting young people but she will also be able to use her background in providing literacy and numeracy support in other roles. Prior to Bridges Project, she worked with adult literacy and numeracy support for East Lothian Council for 11 years. Nicola has also worked with literacy and arts promotion in London, where she worked with everything from playgroups and nurseries to schools, libraries, museums and the creative arts sector.

Carolyn is another vastly experienced professional who will be able to bring different ideas to the Tutor Service. She started her career as a Physicist for a hospital cancer department, where she worked for 18 years before moving on to delivering maths and literacy training in an Edinburgh prison. As well as this, Carolyn has experience from working at forest schools in the Scottish Borders and for the Scottish Government. The fact that she is able to work directly with people is what attracted her to switch to the third sector, where she hopes she will be able to use her diverse background.

“I look forward to seeing how we can do things differently and finding the best ways of working for each young person. Eventually, I hope I might be able to work more with young people outdoors,” says Carolyn.

The Tutor Service delivers individual and group tutoring to young people aged 13-21 in East Lothian and Midlothian with the aim of enabling them to build confidence, competence, wellbeing and resilience through improving basic literacy and numeracy skills alongside improving the functional educational skills required for further education, employment and adult life. The Service delivers a range of accredited learning opportunities including Animal Care and Playback Ice qualifications such as Health and Wellbeing, Life Skills, Self-Evaluation, Planning my Future, Citizenship and Developing Confidence for Employment.

As a newcomer to Bridges Project, Carolyn has been able to look at the Tutor Service from an outsider’s perspective during her first weeks in her new role. She has a great first impression of the quality and potential of the Service.

“I have spoken about the Service to a few friends who are head teachers and they have asked me why it does not exist in other parts of Scotland. It definitely seems like a service that should be rolled out nationwide!” says Carolyn.

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