Andy McWilliam, a Berkeley Group mentor, tells us about his experience of mentoring on Creativity Works Filmby
I recently volunteered with around 20 others from across Berkeley Homes to assist Creativity Works, which is a Mayor’s Fund for London programme supported by Berkeley Group, aimed at supporting 17-24 year old Londoners to get fair access to work opportunities in the wider creative industries.
Our initial meeting was with the Create Jobs team, who gave a presentation on the workshops they offer the mentees and the things the mentors can provide. I see my role as someone who gives space for the young Londoners to talk and be listened. Then I can guide, be objective and provide support in the direction they wish to go in the industry. So helping them with their CV’s, advice on interview techniques and researching jobs were very important.
Our second meeting was when we met our mentees – His name is Sotiri. At 19-years-old, Sotiri has a fascination and a passion for making short films and writing electronic music. His ambition is to be a Film Director. His passion for film making started when he was much younger and it is obvious when he talks about how he edits the films and writes blogs about his music. During this project with Creativity Works, his group have been tasked with making a short film and he is taking on the role as one of the cameramen.
To date Sotiri has been invited to two or three group interviews over the last 6 months. Although unsuccessful, he remains focused that he will be offered an apprenticeship. Our objectives are preparing him for subsequent interviews and looking at ways to improve his CV. He identified that in previous interviews his weaknesses were shyness and not showing confidence when he speaks about his skills. These are the first steps and by practising his interview technique these characteristics will improve.
Over the weekend we exchanged text messages and he was confident on how he performed during the interview. On Monday he texted me to say he had received an email and unfortunately wasn’t offered the job but they were full of praise of his skills and passion for the industry. The following week, we worked on his CV and I sent some feedback to see if we could improve it in any way. We also used the STAR methodology for mock interviews.
Our final meeting together before Christmas was at the graduation event held in Ace Hotel. Here the students presented two short films that they had collectively produced over the last 4 weeks. Dean Stewart, from The London Film Studios, described the 25 participants as outstanding and that their dedication and hard work was the best he had seen.
Moving forward, I will stay in contact with Sotiri and I’m confident he will soon be offered an apprenticeship that he deserves. I would also advise others across Berkeley Group to take part in what’s a fulfilling opportunity to pass on advice and provide support in a tough job market.