I agreed to act as a mentor for the John Schofield Trust as I remember all too well my own experiences of having just entered the industry and the value of having someone to go to for advice and to bounce things off.
The competition to try and land a job in broadcast journalism is so fierce nowadays that once you get your foot in the door you need to ensure you make the very most of it. So to have a support scheme like this is invaluable to anyone lucky enough to be given a place.
The scheme appealed to me as it ensured a year long commitment which has allowed a relationship to build between Max (my mentee) and myself, and has allowed us to react to situations that have arisen in his career.
I’ve never taken it that I’m the sole source of advice and help but that I’m available as an extra, independent ear that could be used as a sounding board or to offer practical support where required.
There’s never been the promise of waving a magic wand to solve or create a situation, but just having some years experience in the business has meant that I’ve been able to give Max a different perspective and introduce him to a few people who have been able to offer guidance in areas which aren’t my speciality.
Given the nature of the job some time can often pass between contact, but I feel we’ve built up enough of a rapport that Max knows where I am should he ever need me and that we’ll regularly be in touch beyond the scheme’s year-long cut-off point.
The biggest benefit for myself has been to see things through the perspective of someone embarking on a career in the industry almost a decade after I did.
The business has changed so much in that time, so to take a minute to appreciate the skills that are key to the newest generation entering into it and also the pressures that they face is no bad thing.