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Scholarship in 2018/19: A photo journey

Please note that The Robertson Trust has published its new Giving Strategy. This sets out the priorities we will have when awarding funds through our open grants programme. The existing application form and guidelines can still be used until July 31st. In line with our existing procedures, we will aim to assess and present all applications received by this date to our September Board meeting. In the event that we are unable to do so, your application may be held until our November meeting. In such cases a member of staff will contact you and provide any assistance required to realign your application with the new Giving Strategy. Find out all you need to know here.

Since 1992, The Robertson Trust has provided scholarships, bursary awards and grants to individuals. In recent years we have developed this into our Journey to Success, which has worked with young Scots who have the ability, but not necessarily the means, to get the most out of a university education. This pic is from our 2012 graduation (and includes a current member of our scholarship team!), but the programme has continued to grow year on year....


...and in 2018/19 we supported 631 Scholars on their university journey. Financial support is key to ensuring that our young people, from some of the poorest communities in Scotland, are able to sustain their studies. But we aim to do a great deal more than that by providing self-development and employability training, internships and career development support that enables our Scholars to access graduate careers and go on to make a difference in business and society. This photo is from our 2018 graduation, which saw the achievements of 73 graduating scholars recognised at a special ceremony at the Hilton Doubletee in Glasgow.


Our Career Pathways in particular were a key development in 2018/19. They aim to provide a more immersive experience of career areas, through awareness-raising activities, mentoring and work experience, enabling Scholars to build a network that will support their entry into the world of work. Initial partnerships in this area include The John Smith Centre, with whom we have developed a two-year programme including internships with MSPs and MPs, and The Vine Trust, who are providing Scholars with the chance to support an international expedition from all the way from initial fundraising to delivery and review. We have also developed a financial services programme with The Juniper Trust and a mentoring programme with the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Our long-standing partners Didasko have also developed an exciting programme around investment management. We are truly grateful for the support of all our partners in this area who are providing such wonderful and valuable experiences for our Scholars. This pc shows Megan Sutherland, Jordan Cavell and Zainab Magzoub, the first three receipients of the John Smith Scholarship.

We continue to support a range of cultural and sporting activity through our Excellence Awards, with a focus on the development of young Scottish talent. As the latest recipients of our John Macphail Scholarships Jacob Henry, Thomas Jeffrey and Kristian Kay (pictured above) have recently returned from five months in the high-performance training facility at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, and we look forward to following their progress as young stars of Scottish Rugby in the future. Our Dundee Rep Graduate Apprentice Ross Baxter, our Scottish Opera emerging artist Lucy Adamson and our Citizen's Theatre Actor Intern Malcolm Cumming all had busy years performing in major productions and developing their skills. 

At the same time we have been developing our links with Scotland’s Colleges and Universities in order to support projects that focus on removing barriers to participation in education so that all our young people are able to fulfil their potential. This photo shows some of the brochures we have produced relating to these projects; we are trying to be more proactive in sharing learning from this work and now have a dedicated Widening Access section on our website. Our work in supporting projects that widen access to education throughout the learner journey continued to expand during the year, with the addition of Fife College to the First Chances Fife programme and the funding of the next phase of that work that begins in 2019 and will extend academic skill development to over 1000 young people from P7 to S6 in Fife. A key element of the success of the programme has been the close working relationship between St Andrews University, Fife College and the schools in the region which helps to keep the focus to be on the young people and their development. It was particularly pleasing to see 11 young people from First Chances joining the Journey to Success programme as they progressed to university in 2018, and that number has more than doubled in 2019. The year also saw us supporting the expansion of MCR Pathways into local authorities across Scotland, which will enable them to bring their life-changing mentoring and industry-engagement approach to many more young people in the next few years. 

#TRTAnnualReview - Scholarship team in numbers 2018/19 from The Robertson Trust on Vimeo.

It's been a busy but inspirational year, and as we move into the 2019/20 academic session we continue to expand and refine our activity so that we can provide the best possible support to our Scholars, project partners and the sector as a whole to help to ensure the future success of our young people.