ScreenSkills looking for mentors to support talent

ScreenSkills is seeking experienced screen professionals to volunteer as mentors for a new cohort of talent from groups currently under-represented in the industry.

The ScreenSkills Mentoring Network has matched nearly 2,500 individuals with a mentor since it launched two years ago with National Lottery funds awarded by the BFI as part of the Future Film Skills strategy. The network includes the ScreenSkills Mentoring Programme – ScreenSkills’ own mentoring matching service - as well as organisations that have run mentoring programmes with ScreenSkills support.

The next round of matching will focus on people under-represented in the industry including Black, Asian, minority ethnic and disabled talent.

The mentoring team is particularly keen to hear from volunteer mentors with some years’ experience in the industry, including those in craft and tech roles across film, television, animation, visual effects and games. ScreenSkills offers optional training and support to new mentors through live webinars, guides and briefings and also responds to individual queries.

More than 600 people have been matched by the ScreenSkills Mentoring Programme since its launch two years ago with the rest supported through programmes run by screen organisations and businesses across the UK.

Some of these mentoring partners have received funding to deliver programmes targeted at particular under-represented groups while others relied on accessing free expertise, training and free resources developed by ScreenSkills to encourage a quality experience for the mentees.

Last year, 37% of those mentored by ScreenSkills and its partners were Black, Asian or minority ethnic, 17% disabled and 66% women in line with ambitions for the programme to support individuals from groups under-represented in the industry as well as addressing skills shortages.

Industry professionals who register as mentors are giving back to the industry but also discover that the process develops their own skills such as leadership and management.

Mentor Piers Leigh, a director of photography who has travelled the world for work, has mentored more than once. "I got a fantastic amount from mentoring. It’s definitely a two-way street. It’s not just purely for the benefit of the mentee. I have vastly improved my own listening and communication skills. I have become much more aware of what constitutes good leadership. All of that will feed into my working life and make me a better boss and colleague."

Mentee Nagea Rose is typical of many who feel mentoring gives them the boost they needed. “It's been a great pleasure to be part of this scheme, it has been life-changing for me. I am amazed at what a difference it has made in my drive, development and opportunities.”

There are more stories from mentors and mentees along with more details about mentoring on the ScreenSkills website.

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