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London College of Communication

Industry Mentoring Scheme mentor and mentee discuss working in the creative industries

Industry Mentoring Scheme: Meet the Mentees

Written by Jake May
Published date 19 December 2018

The Industry Mentoring Scheme at London College of Communication aims to encourage and support postgraduate students in their transition from education to industry.

The voluntary scheme places LCC postgraduate students of all disciplines with industry professionals to support their development as they enter the creative industries.

We sat down with a few of the mentees to hear how they found the experience…

Annie Croll

Course: MA Public Relations

Paired with: Tom Coupe, Head of Communications at Heatherwick Studio

Why did you apply for the Industry Mentoring Scheme and what were your expectations going into it?

As an international student with limited knowledge of the UK public relations industry, I applied to the industry mentoring scheme in the hopes of gaining a better understanding of it from someone on the inside. Having never had a mentor before, I was unsure of what to expect from the process and was both nervous and excited to meet them.

What was your relationship like with your mentor? How often did you meet and what was the process like?

From the start, my mentor was friendly and receptive to my concerns. We begun by outlining what each of us wanted out of the mentor/mentee relationship, which helped us navigate our meetings going forward. It was up to us how often we wanted to meet or talk, and with two busy schedules, we decided to meet monthly and exchange emails when needed.

What specific skills and knowledge will you take away from the scheme and use in your future career or studies?

I have learned a great deal about tailoring a CV, how to write about myself, interviewing for a job, and the PR world of design!

And what do you think the mentor gained from it? Were there any particular insights or knowledge you felt they learnt from you?

I made a concerted effort to ask my mentor why he had signed up for the program and what he was hoping to learn from me. I did my best to try and provide the best advice I could, whether it was about what I look for in a job posting or how the job interview process could be made better.

LCC Industry Mentoring Scheme. Image by Sundeep Verdi

Were there any unexpected benefits from the Scheme you’ve gained that you didn’t predict when going into it?

Yes, my mentor has been absolutely fantastic! From allowing me to shadow him at work and through meetings, to offering me summer employment – I have gained invaluable professional advice and experience that I never would have imagined beforehand.

What advice would you give to people students unsure whether they should go for the scheme or not?

It is okay not to know exactly what you want out of the process, but do have an idea of the types of questions you want to ask or professional qualities you want to work on. Keep an open mind to new experiences or ideas that are presented, and be respectful of the mentor’s time and effort.

Overall, how would you sum up your time on the scheme?

The scheme helped introduce me to not only to a wonderful mentor, but a whole new group of outstanding professionals in a world of PR that I knew nothing about. I am very grateful and feel privileged to have had this experience.

Jaya Modi

Course: MA Graphic Media Design

Paired with: Jo Mitchell Long, Freelance designer and founder of Dib Dab Art Club

Why did you apply for the Industry Mentoring Scheme and what were your expectations going into it?

As an international BAME student wanting to stay back to work in the UK, I felt like having a mentor would help me garner information, expertise and advise about the workings of the industry. I was extremely excited to uncover the various possibilities of experience, and to be able to network with like-minded creatives and revered professionals, many of whom I so greatly admire.

What was your relationship like with your mentor? How often did you meet and what was the process like?

Throughout the official term of the program, my relationship with my mentor was more formal and professional. It was with a respectable sense of commitment to one another that we were able to maintain an equilibrium in our equation. Open communication and mutual regard is essential to transition any relationship to a personal bond. Since the program has ended, we have continued to stay in touch, although now admittedly more as friends and compatible creatives.

What specific skills and knowledge will you take away from the Scheme and use in your future career or studies?

For me, I really learnt to embrace myself through this scheme. I used to be diffident about my skill set and work experience, but spending time with my mentor, I learnt how to present myself with more confidence. She taught me how my own excitement and energy for my work it what makes it easier to draw people’s interest and attention. Having learnt that, and applied it to my interactions, I have come out as a more confident and spontaneous individual.

And what do you think the mentor gained from it? Were there any particular insights or knowledge you felt they learnt from you?

Jo herself is an inquisitive mind. Her cogwheels are always in motion! As my Masters is essentially a design-led research course, a lot of my projects involved a very high level of study and in-depth interrogation of themes and practise. This is where I felt Jo got to get back in touch with a different perspective to design.

She would always be intrigued by the practitioners I was looking at, or the body of work I was studying. Her sheer pleasure at hearing my concepts and ideations would fuel me forward, and I think it was a great experience for her as well, to experience the world of design from a students lens again.

We found common interests and managed to set up a symbiotic relay of sorts, that helped us both be better informed, and to stay apprised amidst the constantly evolving climate of the Art & Design world.

Were there any unexpected benefits from the Scheme you’ve gained that you didn’t predict when going into it?

I think I’ve definitely made a friend and confidante for life, in my mentor. I had always hoped that I would get along with my mentor, and that we would have a mutually beneficial time. However my time with Jo has been more than that, it’s been something truly special and memorable.

What advice would you give to people students unsure whether they should go for the Scheme or not?

I would say, “Go for the scheme. You have nothing to lose! But don’t waste a seat if you yourself are not ready to give the time and commitment this scheme deserves.” The success of this scheme depends mostly on the equation you set with your mentor and how much you both are willing to make it work. Please do not take this up just for your CV or thinking that you will automatically gain access to industry professionals.

Overall, how would you sum up your time on the Scheme?

A wonderful experience that has taught me so much, helped me gain better insight into the industry, given me a friend for life. It is something I wish hadn’t ended so soon!

Pavithra Pasupathi

Course: MA Graphic Branding and Identity

Paired with: Colin Goad, Head of Creative at MGA Ideas

Why did you apply for the Industry Mentoring Scheme and what were your expectations going into it?

Honestly, while applying for the mentoring scheme, I didn’t know what I would be getting out of it. I expected not to be workshop classes that I thought would help me get better access and information about the field as I had just changed my field of profession.

I was extremely nervous at the fact that I didn’t know what I was getting into and was scared if it was the right decision for me. At the same time, I was very excited about the fact it was one to one mentoring rather than a group workshop, like I had mistaken it to be.

What was your relationship like with your mentor? How often did you meet and what was the process like?

My mentor was one of the best I could have ever asked for. He was ever so friendly and shaped my perspective a lot. I was clueless at one point about how things would turn out to be and he was always there to reassure me and reminded me to go with the flow. We meant about once in two weeks until by the end of the program, Colin offered me to work with him for some sort of an experience the agency. I was elated.

We discussed techniques and he listened to me intently and gave me his inputs. We have also discussed my research and he has always given me guidance at the given time.

LCC Industry Mentoring Scheme. Image by Sundeep Verdi

What specific skills and knowledge will you take away from the Scheme and use in your future career or studies?

The scheme taught me lots of important life skills. The most important of it being, shape your thinking to change with time, you’ll always be capable of doing anything that you want to do. Colin was an example of that to me. A person as humble as him after 25 years of experience inspires me to be like him someday.

And what do you think the mentor gained from it? Were there any particular insights or knowledge you felt they learnt from you?

Colin always said everyone teaches us something and there’s always something to learn. I would not be able to point out specifically if he learnt anything as it is for him to say so, but I do hope he enjoyed the time we spent as mentor and mentee.

Were there any unexpected benefits from the Scheme you’ve gained that you didn’t predict when going into it?

As much as I would have loved to work with Colin, I didn’t think I would by the end of the scheme. That was a pleasant surprise and one of the most important six weeks I have spent with him. Meeting everyone regularly made me realise that there is so much to learn and do. I could see where I wanted to be professionally – and I would credit the scheme for that.

What advice would you give to people students unsure whether they should go for the Scheme or not?

Sometimes, the most unexpected things lead us to the most beautiful experiences ever. And this was one such experience for me. I would recommend everyone to give it a shot and those who do get in, the least that can happen is you’ll know a person in the industry and that’s one of the most important things to happen.

Overall, how would you sum up your time on the Scheme?

As hard as it can be to believe that the official mentor time is over, my period was extended and I have learnt a to about not just the industry and design and Branding. The ways of life in an Industry, meeting really great people and growing as a person myself is the best way I can describe the scheme for me.

Find out about getting involved in the LCC Industry Mentoring Scheme.