On Wednesday 30th November 2016 , the second Meet a Mentor programme launched in partnership with Create Jobs with a new cohort of 30 people (15 mentors and 15 mentees). Meet a Mentor brings together people at the beginning of their careers in the creative industries with mentors who have navigated the industry and have a wealth of experience to draw from. The first programme ended on a high with 5 of the mentees finding work in the creative industries as a direct result of their participation and the connections made during the programme as well as creating many long-lasting relationships so the launch of the second programme started with this feeling of anticipation attached to it.
We began the session handing out mentor and mentee packs. As each pack was handed out and taken away for perusal, there was a keen sense of reality. Goals and aspirations on a screen became real people with a lot to learn and gain from the programme. The thrum of excitement for the session was infectious, it was a genuine moment to stop and take it all in.
During the session, a workshop hosted by Somethin' Else's Hannah Lury and Lucy Madge broke down the experience of pitching your ideas. The workshop, 'Life's a Pitch' took the general apprehension out of pitching. They explained that pitching isn't the be-all and end-all that it sounds. If you enjoy your work and are in a role that you love, it's easier to see a pitch as a passion project borne from your desire to do the best that you can do. The group broke up into smaller groups to work on pitching a new radio show to the BBC. Each group fed off of each other's energy to deliver pitches that garnered laughter, made use of catchy slogans ('Stormzy in a teacup' anyone?) and ultimately made it very possible to see how you can pitch a project that you have devised and worked hard to bring to fruition especially if you have practised your pitch, believe every word you are saying and have really done your research. Everyone was a winner in the pitching challenge, which just goes to show that PERFECTION isn't the first P that comes to mind when pitching.
In my opinion, one of the things that the programme does best is generate that feeling of community and kinship. Between the workshop and the guest speaker, there was a chance to grab a slice of pizza and the nearest person and just chat. It's the most organic atmosphere to network and chill in that I've ever come across. There's no agenda beyond 'hey, what do you do?' and 'wow, tell me more about that because that's incredible.' In a climate that's becoming increasingly competitive and where your peers are your peers until they're the competition, it's so refreshing to come into a space and say, "guess what i did since we last met up..."
This is why the guest talks fit in so seamlessly at this point. Ahmed Hussain, the newly appointed Head of Prison Radio, titled his talk, 'Don't Be Afraid Because Everybody Else Is'. His talk charted his beginnings on pirate radio, gave advice on how to stand out in this competitive job market and how he nagged (in the best possible way) his way to the top. The first session soon ended but really, it was the beginning of a journey, opening 2017 up to all new possibilities.
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