Published on: 06 April 2017 in Career Development

Directors UK Inspire: A Mentoring and Career Development programme

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Directors UK is launching a new, year-round mentoring programme for Full and Associate members across all regions and nations of the UK. This programme aims to encourage directors across genres to seek structured support to enhance career opportunities. 

We recognise that mentoring takes place informally between creative professionals and freelancers and many directors already have more than one mentor who may have supported them for several years. As part of its on-going action to widen opportunities for the broadest range of talent, including those unable to access networks, Directors UK is keen to accommodate and support this important area. We know from former career development schemes, that there are positive mutual benefits for mentors and therefore we are encouraging directors to get in touch if this is a role they would consider.  

Applications will be accepted all year with regular quarterly deadlines to enable as many mentoring opportunities as possible to flourish.  

2017/18 deadlines are:

1 June 2017
1 September 2017
1 December 2017
1 March 2018

What we need from you

1. You can apply with:

a) A named mentor if you know who you want and you have had initial discussions with them (you must have their consent)

b) A mentor you would like but perhaps have not yet approached — we can help you contact this director. Please name them in your application.

Often the best mentoring relationships thrive when the mentee is just one or two steps away from the mentor in relation to career paths; reaching out to someone who is best placed to advise and support you is important.

2. Please outline your key objectives and outcomes for this mentoring experience and HOW you will go about achieving these. Please tell us how this experience will help develop your career. We want you to tell us in your application what suits you best. (See below for some mentoring examples).  This is a competitive programme and your response to this will influence our decision making.  

Please send your full application to [email protected] covering the above criterion in no more than 2 pages.

In addition we need your most recent CV.

If short-listed we will then ask you for a more detailed plan of action and a budget. Directors UK will support your mentoring partnership up to a maximum of £1,000 but we expect most awards to be approx. £300-500 in total. Eligible costs are: travel, accommodation, expenses for food and sustenance, childcare or any other access needs, any costs relating to the mentor (expenses). 

Examples of successful mentoring are:

  • A shadowing opportunity or set visit - maybe a specific production you can gain access to. Please ensure you have permission.

  • Mentoring partnerships that centre on continuous support, whereby you have access to your mentor for general advice, phone calls, emails, and meetings.

  • Mentoring advice for a particular project or career goal – or a safe space outside of a project or scheme.

  • Practical support with your CV, gaining an agent, pitching etc.

  • Meetings and networking at film and or TV festivals, conferences etc.

  • General support as a freelance director – gathering and maintaining contacts, networking.

  • Advice on changing roles or direction, including up-skilling.

  • Virtual mentoring online (e.g. via Skype), is valid but please ensure that face-to-face meetings are included, where possible.

Training and Support from Directors UK

If you need help or advice please contact us before each deadline. We can help you contact a prospective director mentor but you must be clear in your application why you want this person. Directors UK will be developing guidelines for both mentees and mentors in relation to terms of reference and accepted behaviours. Directors UK will be running advice sessions for both mentees and mentors and these guidelines will be published on our website.

Interested in becoming a mentor?

Directors UK knows that many directors may already operate as mentors, formal or informal. 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 this new programme as they arise. Contact us at [email protected] to get involved. 

Future opportunities and commitments

Whilst the detail of the conversations between you and your mentor will always remain confidential, we would love to be able to share your experience, wherever appropriate, with other members and will ask you to commit to some publicity and/or case studies. 

Send your completed application to [email protected]

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