The LCC Industry Mentoring Scheme aims to encourage and support postgraduate students in their transition from education to industry, matching postgraduate students with industry professionals.
With industry experts ranging from journalists, designers, photographers, branding experts and more, there is a wealth of knowledge and experience for postgraduate students to draw from.
We sat down with Founder and Company Director and BA (Hons) Graphic and Media Design graduate Jo Mitchell Long to find out more about her journey so far, and what she hopes to achieve with the scheme. Jo Mitchell Long has worked as an Art Director for international dance, retail and entertainment companies and also founded Dib Dab Art Club to inspire children to take up drawing and painting.
Hi Jo! Can you tell us a bit about your background and interests?
I am currently a director of an expanding business delivering art classes to children. The business started small but has grown organically, and we now have a small team of creatives. I’m passionate about getting art into schools and enriching the arts programmes on offer to children.
I'm also a professional graphic designer, and paint when time allows or I find myself in the right head space. I’ve always been immersed in creativity ever since I was child and as any creative person knows it can sometimes be an all-consuming passion. When I’m not working I enjoy time spent in galleries which feeds my need for visual stimulation. Nature is also close to my heart and as I’ve always said “the city inspires my graphic work and the country inspires my painting”!
What do you hope to achieve through the scheme?
This is now my second year of mentoring and my continued hope is to achieve a mutually beneficial relationship - one where I can “give back” and partake of my knowledge to a young designer whilst also keeping up-to-date with the latest emerging talent.
What skills, experience and wisdom are you bringing as a mentor?
As a mentor I am bringing many years of experience in the design, publishing and retail industries. I set up a small design company and had freelance designers on my team. I know how to listen to clients, win work, build teams, stay inspired and trust one's own creativity and vision. Hopefully I can help my mentee to develop the confidence needed to break into a competitive industry and thrive there.
What knowledge or advice do you hope to share with your mentees?
I hope to be able to share knowledge that cannot be taught at University - knowledge that can only be acquired by getting out there and experiencing the industry first-hand. The creative industries are fast-paced and competitive, but while there is a lot of talent out there I hope to share with my mentee the ways you can stay ahead and shine!
Why do you feel it is important for graduates to get industry knowledge and experience through a mentor?
Graduates are full of ideas and expectations. After years of hard work, landing your first job feels like a catapult to creative stardom. The reality is usually slightly different and a mentor can help bridge that gap. If a mentee is prepared to listen and trust their mentor then they potentially have an edge over other graduates who have not been as well prepared for the industry.
What might postgraduate students gain from partnering with a mentor?
Postgraduate students will potentially be able to shadow professionals in their chosen field and get a taste of life in their industry. They should be able to gain knowledge and insight into the roles they hope to secure in their careers, as well as advice from someone who has already been in similar situations.
How did you get started in the field?
My first job was for an international publishing house in Covent Garden. I started as a junior designer and can still remember thinking why, after training for four years, I was having to do menial tasks and not designing a book from day one! My first job taught me so much and I’m thankful to some great Art Directors who, I’m pleased to say, have become lifelong friends.
If there was any advice you wished you had received when first starting out, what would it be?
You are only as good as your last job!
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