How did the idea of a mentoring programme come about?
Each month we host Meet & Greet events to bring the creative community together. It’s a great opportunity for us to listen and get a better understanding of how we can enhance the support that we provide. There were a lot of questions coming through like, “How could I talk to somebody who is in my sector and might know how to get this done or might know what I’m doing wrong or how I could do this better?” The idea of starting a mentoring programme came about organically through this.
We’ve been working the past few months on putting together an experienced, established, versatile and diverse mentoring panel from across the creative industry. All of the mentors are really amazing, they’re established specialists in their various creative fields including live events, music performance, songwriting, venue managing… they’re from right across the creative sector.
Is there anything like this already in Ireland? >>Watch Video>>
Most industry bodies, many institutions or associations and every college/group agency have their own individual programmes but in general the Irish creative sector isn’t synchronised in providing an existing inter-sector mentoring programme that complements multiple disciplines. We don’t have synergy yet in that sense, which is why we feel this is the time for pulling together different specialists from all of the different sectors of the creative industry in Ireland and among Irish abroad.
This pilot mentoring programme is a result of the creative community through Minding Creative Minds identifying the gap that’s there. We’ve just listened and said, “Let’s go with this, this needs to happen”.
Some of the mentors are in the industry so long and they’re so busy that they never got to actually cross over with each other. In putting together this panel of mentors, we’ve indirectly created a new network of senior level creatives from across the sector, too which is a great unexpected outcome.
How much will it cost to apply?
This pilot programme is completely free of charge, there’ll be no financial pressure for people wishing to engage with this. Minding Creative Minds is fully funding it through funds that have been raised, we never wanted financial pressure to be an obstacle for applicants.
We only ask that applicants commit time – there are four sessions with your mentor who will want to see you grow and achieve your goal.
What would a mentor do for me? >>Watch Video>>
They’ll use their influences and their networks to guide you on your career progression. We’d like to see you make more contacts, have doors open to you that you might have struggled with before, and also a renewed determination to reach your goal. The idea here for mentors is that they get to give back; they’re helping and supporting the next generation.
It’s very easy to lose your confidence when you’re trying so hard to achieve something and not really get there at the speed you’d like, so what we hope for our mentees at the end of the programme is to be able to come back and say, “I had a goal I wanted to reach at the end of this and that has happened for me”.
You might want to vent an idea. Your mentor might be thinking bigger or longer term, you might say to them, “Look, this is what I’m really looking at, what do you think?” and they’ll be able to give you honest feedback. It’s having an experienced ear who can say “The reality of that is this…”.
We’d love for mentees at the end to come out and think, “That was really helpful for me”. Even if they come back and say, “Actually I’m not going to do what I set out to do, I’m going to do something completely different”, that’s OK too, that’s a result of successful guidance and direction.
The ultimate idea here is that you progress – progress in your career, progress in your journey, progress in your route to wherever it is that you’re going in the Irish creative sector.
Every one of our mentors on board is so excited to be doing this and that’s what makes it so nice, there’s all this synergy and desire to get on board and help.
What kind of applicant would benefit from this programme?
Applicants can be all ages and be at any point in their career. For example, you could be somebody who has been at home during COVID and you’re changing or adapting your career direction. The mentoring programme could help you break through some obstacles you may have encountered.
You could be a journalist who’s already established and thinking, “Actually I’ve decided now that this isn’t for me. I want to get into podcasting or media production, but how do I get there?”
You could be a singer-songwriter or musician who’s decided, “I don’t want to be frontlining anymore, I want to move into something new where I can use these skills in a supporting role.”
How do I apply? >>Watch Video>>
Apply through our website. Applications will be open from Monday, Sept 6th, they’re only open for a short window so get in as soon as you can.
You’ll be asked to fill out an application form. It’s important for you to sit down with your cup of coffee, take a breath before you start that application form. We need you to be as honest as you can be, about why this Minding Creative Minds mentoring programme will help you and what you want to gain from that.
Due to it being fully funded we need to ensure that the money is spent correctly and that the mentees are committed to the four sessions and that they finish out the programme.
The screening criteria is very much set on the person who would get the most advantageous opportunity from coming through the mentoring programme.
There’s a motivation piece on the application form where you’re asked, what would you hope to gain from the mentoring programme? What can our mentors do for you? It’s important to be as clear as possible because that actual motivation question is one of the most important parts of the screening process. It will be quite dominant in the decision of a mentee getting through in this round versus another mentee.
The perfect mentor and mentee pairing will also come from an applicant saying clearly in the application form: this is where I’m at, this is where I feel a mentor could really help me and this is what I could gain from somebody’s guidance and direction or collaboration. That’s what we need. As clear as you can.
Who decides who gets a mentor? >>Watch Video>>
There is a mix of external independent screeners overseeing the process alongside members of our board. Our external panelists will not have had anything to do with Minding Creative Minds, however are quite experienced at application and programme screening processes. They’ll look at what you said in your application form. Did you meet what we’re asking for? Can you commit? Is this really going to help you over everybody else’s application? Are you matched to a mentor?
Once that happens, the mentors and mentees will both get introduced to each other.
What if I don’t get accepted?
We’re hoping that we’ll get as many mentee applications as possible so we can be on the pilot programme and to help as many people as we can. We have limited places but if you don’t get through this round, there’ll be another opportunity to apply next month and again next year. We’ll constantly rollover the mentoring programme so there’s always an opportunity to come through.