Many more young Fifers will be able to break down barriers to education thanks to a massive funding boost.
Fife College and St Andrews University have been given a further £567,000 from the Robertson Trust to extend the First Chances Fife programme over the coming three years.
Gordon Hunt, head of scholarship and learning at the trust, said: “We are delighted to continue our support of First Chances, which has already made excellent progress in Fife.
“We hope that the increased reach will result in more young people having access to all the benefits – educational, social and cultural, that further and higher education can bring.”
The new funding will enable the roll out of the programme across Fife so, potentially, it could work with all 18 secondary schools and 10 primary school clusters.
Throughout the initiative pupils develop their skills in literacy, numeracy, science and technology, as well as spending time visiting the college and university to meet students and staff in a range of tailored activities.
They also have direct access to the range of resources available at both institutions.
The First Chances Fife programme plays an important part in widening access as described in a recent Scottish Funding Council report.
This outlined the fundamental role colleges play in providing opportunities for people from lower socio-economic backgrounds through access to further and higher education.
This commitment to fair access and social inclusion by the sector is also helping to reduce poverty and increase inclusive economic growth.
Fife College assistant principal Iain Hawker said the funding would allow the programme to be rolled out to an increased number of schools, benefiting more young people, who may face barriers to learning and progression.
“This is the second year that Fife College has been involved in First Chances Fife and we are very pleased to be part of this unique partnership.
“By utilising the strengths of each partner we can maximise the effect of our work, widening opportunities and transforming the lives of young people in Fife.”
St Andrews University deputy director of admissions Mike Johnson said it was delighted the partnership had grown significantly since it started as a single year project run by the university 12 years ago.
“It is only through such partnerships will we see the greatest impact.
“The support that First Chances Fife provides ensures pupils will have the opportunity to make the most of their potential and also make the most of their first chances.”