Published on 18 September 2023 in Career

Directors UK Inspire 2024-25: A Mentoring and Career Development Programme

Our year-round mentoring programme for Full and Associate members of Directors UK returns for 2024.

Whether you are meeting for coffee to discuss your next career move, or seeking feedback on a script or your CV, successful mentoring partnerships can come in many different forms. Through Directors UK Inspire, we aim to facilitate and support mentorships across all genres and platforms.

Why Apply for Inspire?

  • We provide you with useful guidance and resources to begin a successful mentorship, from assistance with your action plan to information about safeguarding.
  • We organise online get-togethers throughout your 12 months on the programme to connect you with the rest of your cohort, regardless of where you are based in the UK.
  • We have a small budget which, if required, can be used to assist with expenditure directly related to your mentorship. Please note, this is not a bursary of grant. More information regarding our budget and eligible expenditure is provided to those accepted onto Inspire.
  • We publish interviews and case studies that celebrate your mentorship and provide exposure to your work.

Deadline for Applications

  • Cohort 1 - Friday 3 November 2023
  • Cohort 2 - Friday 14 June

Learn how to get the most out of your mentorship with top tips from director Neil Ben, who took part in the Directors UK Inspire scheme to support his return to working in TV following a career break and was mentored by Ed Bye.

You can also read our interview with director Rebecca Coley, who was mentored by Katie Churcher, about how Inspire has helped her build on her documentary experience to transition into High-end TV.

To find out if Directors UK Inspire is right for you, meet our cohort for 2023-24 and learn more about what inspired all of them to take part.

How to Apply

Applications should be sent via email to [email protected] and include the subject line “Inspire 2024-25 Application”.

Applicants must send us an up-to-date CV. We recommend checking out Head of Talent and Executive Coach Sian Whomes’ top tips for building an impactful CV before starting your application.

We also require a personal statement of maximum 500 words. We are looking for clear and concise statements that include the following:

1. Your proposed mentor

Your statement must be focused on 1 director only and mention the current status of your approach and relationship. Have they already agreed to be your mentor? Are you in contact with them and have you discussed Inspire? Have you attempted to make contact?

Please note, your proposed mentor does not need to be a member of Directors UK, nor do you need their agreement in order to be accepted onto the programme.

What’s more important is that you propose a director who is suited to your personal objectives – whether that be due to similarities in your career journeys, style, content etc. – and someone who is realistically positioned in terms of their experience level and availability.

Before applying, and when researching potential mentors, we advise attempting to try and contact all directors of interest so you can introduce yourself, discuss your objectives, and check their availability and interest in mentoring.

We recommend checking social media as well as our Find a Director tool to see if any directors of interest are a member of Directors UK, and whether they are sharing their contact details on their profile.

2. Your objectives

Whilst it is helpful to know what your long-term aspirations are, we need to understand what you are realistically aiming to achieve over the next 12 months and why you feel your proposed mentor can help you attain these goals.

Are you returning to work, or moving from one genre/format to another? Are you working on a particular passion project? Do you require advice surrounding writing, pitching, or funding? Or are you looking for general guidance about the work-life balance and managing your profession as a freelance director?

We also need to understand why your proposed mentor might be best placed to support you in these specific areas. We recommend you directly link your objectives to particular aspects of your proposed mentor’s career trajectory and work to date, and provide examples of actions you would hope to take in order to achieve your goals e.g. regular calls or meetings, sitting in on your mentor’s edits, productions meetings etc.

3. Why Inspire?

Especially if you already have contact or a relationship with your proposed mentor; we would like to know what specifically about Inspire interests you and how you feel this programme can take your mentoring partnership to the next level.

Please note, we are not looking for a biography and want to see focused, relevant personal statements in relation to the Inspire Mentoring Programme. Your CV, or your website, showreel etc., should help provide context and background information about your previous work and achievements to date.

The Directors UK Career Development and Skills team have put together some tips on what we think makes a successful application.

Interested in becoming a mentor?

We know that many directors may already operate as mentors and support those coming through the industry. Being a mentor is extremely rewarding and career enhancing as it offers a chance to pause and consider your own decisions and experiences.

If you would like to become a mentor and be added to a pool of directors keen to offer this support please contact us. We can add you to our list and discuss opportunities in relation to the Inspire Mentoring Programme as they arise.

Please send us a brief biography and a few sentences about what you may be able to offer a mentee over a 12-month period to [email protected].

Diversity and Inclusion

Applications are encouraged from all members of Directors UK, and particularly from female directors, directors of colour, disabled, d/Deaf and neurodivergent directors, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, those based in the Nations and Regions, and members from all socio-economic backgrounds as we recognise these groups are currently underrepresented in the film and TV industry.

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