Journey to Success

This self-development programme supports young people aged 16-25 to overcome financial and social barriers to gain the university education and career they aspire to.

Are you a scholar? 

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Film: Investing in Scotland's Future - Journey to Success

What is the Journey to Success? 

Each year, over 700 young people, known as Robertson scholars, are supported through Journey to Success in a broad range of subjects across Scotland’s universities. Since 1992, the programme has supported over 1,000 young people to overcome financial and social barriers to gain the university education and career they aspire to.

The programme was devised to offer self-development opportunities and financial support to 16-25 year olds in Scotland who face barriers to higher education. We are particularly interested in supporting students from backgrounds currently underrepresented in higher education, including those who are:

  • From schools with low progression rates to higher education
  • From households with low income  
  • Black and Minority Ethnic groups
  • Disabled
  • Have lived experience of care
  • Carers
  • Estranged from their family
  • Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities
  • From military families

The programme is aimed at driven young people who are passionate about self-development and collaboration. This could include those who have displayed a proactive attitude to taking on extracurricular activities throughout school, have volunteered in their community or taken part in relevant leadership programmes.  

As Journey to Success aims to develop an active network of peer support for Robertson scholars, a commitment to participating in the opportunities available through the programme is key. 

Journey to Success offers a range of training sessions and events throughout each academic year designed to support scholars to work towards a career they aspire to. Meanwhile, in recognition of the financial barriers many face to participation in higher education, the programme also offers a bursary of up to £4,000 pa to each scholar. 

Find out more about Journey to Success

"The best thing about being a Robertson Scholar? You feel like you can achieve anything!"

What does the Scholarship involve? 

In addition to financial support, Journey to Success offers scholars a range of self-development opportunities designed to help them fulfill their potential and develop skills needed to reach their career aspirations. Opportunities include: 

  • Welcome Event: designed to begin building the peer support networks scholars can benefit from to ease their transition into university and maximise the potential of their degree.  
  • Leadership development: encourage second-year Scholars to support their peers throughout the Welcome Event and first year at university.   
  • Personaldevelopment training sessions: improve the self-awareness needed for university and graduate recruitment success.  
  • Career Pathways and Internships: support Scholars to source meaningful work experience, access career awareness-raising activities and make professional contacts.  
  • Alumni Network: encourages our alumni to mentor younger scholars and help build the Journey to Success support network. 

As part of the programme, scholars should complete the induction process (the Welcome Event), attend two self-development workshops each year, and share a short written report describing how they are progressing through university at the end of each academic term.  

The application process

All applications for Journey to Success are made by schools or universities. With over 300 applications each year for only 150 places, our team works to ensure that criteria not only takes account of relevant academic achievements and socio-economic barriers to education but also identifies candidates with the drive to be part of our self-development programme. 

With this in mind, our team looks for a range of positive characteristics that can specifically help with Journey to Success. These include a willingness to engage with our training opportunities, a genuine interest in self-development and a strong desire to collaborate with others to achieve change. 

In considering each application, we acknowledge the difficulty some candidates may face in describing personal challenges, but these should be balanced with examples of resilience, positive outlook and connectivity with their local community as a celebration of their abilities.  

The programme has been designed to support young people who have the drive but not necessarily the means to be successful in higher education, and we rely on the schools and universities we work with to help identify the most suitable candidates based on our guidelines below. We also ask our education partners to complete a form about each nomination, telling us a little about their background and engagement with education so far.

All applications must be submitted by one of our partner schools or universities according to the following guidelines:

  • Resident in Scotland at the time of application. As a Scotland-wide funder, we can only consider applicants who have attended school in Scotland and are resident in Scotland at the time of application
  • Have made an application to a Scottish University. As a Scotland-wide funder we provide support to students at Scottish Universities.  
  • 16-25 year old accessing a programme of undergraduate study. Our programme focuses on young people accessing undergraduate study, but we acknowledge the articulation route through college.
  • First degree. We cannot consider applicants who have already obtained a degree.
  • Eligibility for SAAS support. Our financial support is intended to complement other sources of statutory support and not replace it. Candidates must be eligible for tuition fees as a minimum requirement through the Student Awards Agency for Scotland.

We are particularly interested in supporting students who are under-represented and face barriers to higher education. While we recognise the complexity of the personal challenges and socio-economic issues many potential candidates may be experiencing, we will also ask you to provide the following information in the application form if comfortable doing so: 

  • Financial need. We support young people who experience financial barriers to participation in higher education.
  • Commitment to learning. We support young people who have a genuine passion and commitment for learning and for their proposed course of undergraduate study.
  • Keenness to participate in the Journey to Success self-development programme. We support driven young people who will want to engage with the self-development opportunities our programme provides.
  • Resilience. We support scholars who have shown resilience in the way they have addressed barriers in their lives.
  • Under-represented characteristics. We are particularly interested in supporting students who come from backgrounds that are currently under-represented in higher education. These include:
    • Those from schools with low progression rates to higher education
    • Low-income households
    • Black and Minority Ethnic groups
    • Disabled people
    • Lived Care Experience
    • Carers
    • Estranged from family
    • Gypsy,Roma and Traveller communities 
    • Estranged from family
    • Children from military families

Please note that only members of the Robertson Trust Scholarship team have access to any information you share for the purposes of making a decision about your application. We won’t share your form outside of the Scholarship team. For further information about how we handle this information please read our Privacy Statement.

View our infographic which shows the timeline and journey of a Robertson scholar, from application to graduation.

Journey to Success alumni share their experiences

How to apply

All applications for Journey to Success are made by schools or universities. We do not accept direct applications from students or families.

If you are from a school, college or university and would like to find out about the application process, please email scholars@therobertsontrust.org.uk

Summer internships – hosting a Scholar

Third-year Journey to Success scholars are offered a six-week summer internship to help enhance their CV. Host employers have included a range of organisations, from large corporates to charities. Past hosts include Barclays, Breast Cancer Care, SportScotland, Scott Moncrieff and Citizens Theatre.

Interns are paid an additional monthly bursary by The Robertson Trust during their placement.

Take a look at our case study of internship host JLL in Glasgow.

If you are an employer interested in offering a placement, please contact gemma.manclark@therobertsontrust.org.uk

Journey to Success Scholars talk about their internship experiences

Would past hosts recommend the Internship Programme to other employers?

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