​​Running a mentoring programme: best practice guidelines​

The development of screen professionals has been identified as an area of importance for the ongoing success and global reputation of the industry in the UK. Becoming a mentor or a mentee is a way to improve performance, skills and knowledge. 

As a production company, charity, or organisation, you may wish to run a formal or informal mentoring programme as a stand-alone activity, or you may have, or plan to have, informal/formal mentoring as part of a wider activity e.g. trainee or work placement scheme. 

These guidelines have been created by ScreenSkills based on experience of running our own programme and supporting a variety of organisations based in the film, TV, animation, games and visual effects (VFX) industries. This support was made possible by National Lottery funding to support the British Film Institute’s Future Film Skills strategy 2017-2022 (extended to 2023 due to the impact of Covid-19 on the screen industry).  

These guidelines set out the purpose of mentoring, how to run and evaluate a mentoring programme and should be tailored to your needs.

We also recommend completing our e-learning modules Mentoring for mentors and Mentoring for mentees.

Mentoring guidelines

Lots of mentoring can, and does, take place in an informal way. These conversations and partnerships are just as useful as more formal schemes. The general principles and things to consider when setting up a more formal mentoring scheme are listed below. The list is not exhaustive.


Mentoring is a one-to-one confidential partnership between a mentor and a mentee.

The mentor is willing and able to share their experience and ideas with a mentee who wants to develop and progress in their career. The mentor helps the mentee to problem solve and to think for themselves. Mentors do not need to have all the answers.

As a general guide, mentoring partnerships can take place over a set period, e.g. one hour a month for six months. A one-off conversation is not mentoring; mentoring is a learning and development activity focusing on the mentee. 

The following sections explore which situations are suitable for mentoring, how to manage expectations, how to set up mentoring partnerships and match mentors and mentors. There is also advice on communication and training. Use the arrows to expand the boxes for more information.