ScreenSkills launches mentoring network for screen professionals

ScreenSkills has launched a pan-UK mentoring drive to support new and established professionals in the UK’s screen industries.

Emily Cheung speaks about her experiences as a mentee at the launch of the ScreenSkills Mentoring Network

The ScreenSkills Mentoring Network, supported by the BFI awarding National Lottery funds as part of its Future Film Skills strategy, aims to match 3,000 mentoring pairs by 2022.

We have brought together screen organisations who already offer mentoring to devise a standardised set of guidance and good practice to ensure maximum benefit to participants.

The next step is a recruitment drive to recruit new volunteer mentors at every level of British film, television, VFX, animation and games as well as candidates who would like to be mentored to further their career.

We will target intakes of mentees over the coming year, first focusing on people from BAME backgrounds, followed by those returning to work after a career break, areas of skills gaps and screen professionals from out of London. Mentors are welcome to volunteer through the ScreenSkills website at any time.

We know that properly organised mentoring can help anyone in their career, but there are particular benefits for those without a strong network of personal contacts in the industry

Seetha Kumar, ScreenSkills CEO

Seetha Kumar, ScreenSkills’ Chief Executive Officer, said: “We know that properly organised mentoring can help anyone in their career, but there are particular benefits for those without a strong network of personal contacts in the industry.

“Mentoring is a very positive way for anyone working in UK screen to do their bit to help develop the next generation. We…urge everyone to consider giving their time.”

Amanda Nevill, BFI Chief Executive, said: “I am delighted to see ScreenSkills launch the Future Film Skills mentoring scheme, a key recommendation in the BFI Skills Strategy. The aim is to provide personalised and individual support across the industry.

“We will only develop people with first class skills if they are mentored and supported by the first-class practitioners in the industry, those who are generously ready to pass on their expertise and knowledge. Personal support like this is so confidence-boosting, both creatively and professionally.”

ScreenSkills has prepared resources explaining how to mentor, how to be a mentee, best practice guidelines for mentoring, how to run a mentoring programme and case studies of successful partnerships.

Mentoring is already part of key training programmes such as Trainee Finder, ScreenSkills’ flagship new entrant placement programme, and the Series Producer Programme that prepares television professionals to step up to series producer.

Margot James, Digital and Creative Industries Minister, said: "The UK is home to some of the best creative minds in the world and mentoring is a great way to inspire the next generation. The ScreenSkills initiative will provide up to 3,000 mentoring places. Not only will the mentors provide training to our aspiring creative talent, but it also gives those already established in the industry the chance to give something back and share their wealth of knowledge."

Richard Johnston, Chair of ScreenSkills and Chief Executive Officer of Endemol Shine UK, said: “The mutual benefits of a successful mentor/mentee relationship are indisputable, so I’m delighted to be taking part in this fantastic and ambitious project to support the UK screen industries…I would encourage anyone to invest the relatively small amount of time required to get on board.”

For more details, read our press release

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