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bp Student Tutoring scheme celebrates 30 years of inspiring pupils across north-east Scotland

27 March 2024
bp Student Tutoring Scheme celebrates 30 years of inspiring pupils
  • bp scheme that puts students into classrooms to inspire pupils has reached a 30-year milestone
  • Approximately 3,000 students across Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire have been given the opportunity to tutor through the scheme
  • Hundreds of schools in the north-east of Scotland have benefitted from a helping hand in the classroom

Three decades of a bp education scheme, which has provided around 3,000 students with an opportunity to inspire north-east pupils, was recognised at the company’s North Sea headquarters last night.


The enduring success of the bp Student Tutoring scheme is thanks to the partnership between north-east higher education institutions; North East Scotland College (NESCol), Robert Gordon University (RGU) and the University of Aberdeen, the region’s two local authorities; Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council, supported by bp.


Every year the scheme places students from RGU, the University of Aberdeen, and NESCol into school classrooms, to act as role models to pupils, help raise aspirations, and motivate them to continue in education after school. It also helps students to develop problem-solving and communication skills and encourages them to consider a career in teaching.


This year, 70 student tutors were placed in almost 30 schools across the region.


Established in 1994, the bp Student Tutoring scheme, evolved from an earlier bp programme ‘Aiming for a College Education’ that focused on encouraging school pupils to stay on after compulsory schooling and aspire to further and higher education.


Kathryn McKee, head of UK communications and campaigns at bp said:

“The scheme was originally created to help the region’s young people progress into further and higher education so they might benefit from the highly skilled job opportunities in the burgeoning energy industry. The fact that the scheme remains as relevant today as it was 30 years ago is a testament to its success.


“This year mark’s 60 years of bp in the North Sea and we are very proud of our long-standing investment in education here in Aberdeen and across the UK, and hope that the education partnerships we support continue to help talented young people take advantage of exciting career opportunities for many years to come.”


Jen Eddington took part in the tutoring scheme in 1994/95 whilst studying Consumer Product Management at RGU.

She went on to become a principal teacher and is currently a small business owner. She also supported many bp tutors from the scheme during her teaching career.

“The scheme was an eye-opener for me. It meant I could talk with conviction about my time in the classroom and it gave me hands-on experience before I applied to become a teacher. As a teacher, Icontinued to support the scheme by having students in classes across my faculty and saw how advantageous it could be for them to experience teaching a subject they are studying. And for pupils, it’s beneficial to have fresh ideas from a different perspective in the classroom.”

The scheme provides additional stimulus and assistance to pupils of all ages and abilities, helping to make school lessons more interesting by providing tutors who have different backgrounds and areas of expertise. In all placements, students work under the supervision of the class teacher.

Alex Davidson-Clark is the principal teacher of learning and teaching and an art and design teacher at Mackie Academy.

She took part in the bp Tutoring scheme while studying at Gray’s School of Art: “I’d never considered teaching before taking part in the bp scheme and certainly not secondary school teaching, but my mentor helped me gain confidence to enter the classroom and see that this was something I could do as a career.

“For pupils, having a student in the class opens conversations as they have a different rapport with a tutor than with a teacher, and can ask questions about career paths and what university or college is really like. For teachers, it’s great having an extra pair of hands and someone who can spend time on different projects with pupils.”


Shona Milne, interim chief education officer at Aberdeen City Council said:


“Both Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council have strong connections with the region’s colleges, universities, and employers like bp, and schemes like this are an excellent way to work together to get the best experiences for our young people. Having students in schools allows pupils to speak to people with potentially different lived experiences and shows them that there are excellent education opportunities locally, so they don’t need to look further afield.”

The bp Student Tutoring scheme runs annually and applications will open in October. Enrolled students at NESCol, RGU, and the University of Aberdeen should contact their institution for more information.


Issued by BIG Partnership on behalf of bp. For more information, please contact Joanna Macdonald: joanna.macdonald@bigpartnership.co.uk or 07706 334 975


Notes to editors.


About the bp Student Tutoring scheme

bp has been investing in education and skills, with a particular focus on Science Technology Engineering, and Maths (STEM), for almost 50 years and is committed to continuing this focus on education to inspire the next generation to develop the skills needed for a just transition.

The bp Student Tutoring scheme is a voluntary scheme supported by bp, the University of Aberdeen, Robert Gordon University, North East Scotland College, Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council.

The scheme aims to provide positive role models to local school pupils and to raise their aspirations and motivations towards continuing education beyond their compulsory schooling.

The eight-week tutoring programme provides students in higher education with an opportunity to enhance their CVs through valuable work experience in a local school. The programme helps improve their confidence and communication skills and encourages them to volunteer in their local communities.

For many students keen to pursue teacher training, the scheme provides a useful 'testing the water' experience.

All student tutors who finish their placement receive a certificate of completion that can be shared with future employers or postgraduate recruiters.

Robert Gordon University


Robert Gordon University (RGU) is an innovative and inclusive institution based in Aberdeen, Scotland with the strategic aim to transform people and communities by providing excellent teaching, research, and enterprise opportunities to contribute to economic, social and cultural development and environmental sustainability. For more information about RGU, please visit www.rgu.ac.uk

North East Scotland College

NESCol is one of the largest providers of vocational education and training in Scotland, delivering to more than 20,000 full-time, part-time and distance learning students each year. The College operates from its main Aberdeen Altens, Aberdeen City and Fraserburgh campuses as well as the Scottish Maritime Academy in Peterhead. For further information visit: https://www.nescol.ac.uk/


University of Aberdeen Established in 1495, the University of Aberdeen is the fifth oldest in the UK and is ranked within the Top 10 in the UK for Student Satisfaction, 12th in the UK in the 2024 Guardian University Guide, 4th in the UK for environmental sustainability in the 2024 QS World Rankings; and 12th globally for international outlook in the 2024 THE World University Rankings.


The University is renowned for its world-leading research in health, energy, food and nutrition and environmental and biological sciences. The University also has an outstanding track-record for arts and humanities research.


With a community of students and staff encompassing 130 nationalities, the University of Aberdeen has a global outlook and reach.


Aberdeen City Council

Aberdeen is Scotland’s third biggest city and is home to 230,000 people. The city is bordered by the North Sea and was first settled more than 8,000 years ago. It is known as the Energy Capital of Europe and is a world leader in the development of renewables, especially hydrogen. Aberdeen City Council was named Council of the Year at the UK’s MJ Awards in 2020. https://www.aberdeencity.gov.uk/


Aberdeenshire Council

Aberdeenshire Council is one of 32 council areas of Scotland, with 16,000 employees and delivering hundreds of local services for the benefit of our communities. The council activities are managed through – Education and Children’s Services, Business Services, Infrastructure Services, and Health & Social Care. The council has six administrative areas – Banff & Buchan, Buchan, Formartine, Garioch, Kincardine & Mearns, and Marr - within which local decisions are taken locally by elected Members. Aberdeenshire Council is made up of 70 elected councillors. https://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/