14th July 2020
Nearly 50 screen professionals participated in workshops organised to foster a culture of mentoring in the UK screen industries.
Is mentoring for me? consisted of events over three days designed to offer advice on encouraging best mentoring practice and practical insights from those who have experience as mentors and mentees.
Day one started with an introduction of the ScreenSkills mentoring programme, what mentoring entails and expectations mentoring pairs can have from each another. The ScreenSkills mentoring team explained that mentoring is beneficial for both parties involved. While mentees can learn much from the experiences of their mentor, mentors in turn are able to give their careers a boost by expanding their skillset with, for example, leadership skills.
On the second day, mentoring pairs shared details of their partnerships and how they had made mentoring work for them. Senior producer and director Abdullai Adejumo talked about working with his mentor, Steve Kelly, a producer, director and writer. Mentoring provides a confidential safe space, he said, and is very useful especially when you work as a freelancer as the mentor can be a great sounding board for discussions and ideas.
Helen Shreeve, ScreenSkills’ head of programmes and formerly an award-winning editor at the BBC, and her mentee, Daniella Timperley closed the session with a conversation about the impact their collaboration has had on production student Daniella’s career. “The ScreenSkills mentoring programme has been surprisingly beneficial for me,” Daniella said. Being based in Northern Ireland while Helen was in London was not a problem, she added. “I am keen to reassure those who are considering taking part in a mentoring partnership that location wasn’t a barrier to a successful partnership for us and I was happy to share how we made it work really well. I am very grateful that I was matched with my mentor.”
The final day saw topics such as setting goals, structuring mentoring meetings and the roles and responsibilities of both parties discussed in more detail. Participants discussed in groups what they hoped to get out of mentoring and what caused them to consider a mentoring partnership at this stage in their careers. The session closed with three rounds of speed networking.
ScreenSkills mentoring manager Jane Saunders said: “I was not sure how an online event would work and was delighted with the engagement and interest of people wanting to explore whether mentoring is for them.” ScreenSkills is exploring holding more events online to answer the questions of those considering mentoring.
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