Shottobani Desk: At the first event of its type ever held, ‘One Million Mentors’ was launched as part of a pilot scheme to help young people across the capital into employment by giving them mentors in a variety of sectors.
The London Press Club teamed with UpRising to pilot the media event which was attended by 140 ‘mentees’ and professionals.
As up-and-coming journalists they were given invaluable face-to-face or online mentorship time with experienced journalists.
The ‘One Million Mentors’ scheme gives mentors access to online training resources to help advise their mentees by committing one hour of their time every month for a whole year.
The ninth floor of City Hall was buzzing with anticipation, with the budding journalists rearing to go, excited at the propsect of gaining knowledge from media experts.
Diverse conversations of political intrigue and personal anecdotes were swapped before the stop watch was set in humorous fashion by Oli Barrett, co-founder of ‘Start up Britain’.
Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow and co-founder of the UpRising Leadership charity, spoke about her experience with opportunities as a young person.
“As someone who grew up in the east-end of London whereas I was surrounded by opportunities on my door step, many young people are cut off from opportunity.
“I felt that we could do something very simple, to give our time, our advice and our support to the younger generation. So imagine out of an organisation that’s working with thousands of young adults already, imagine if we could scale that up into the hundreds of thousands and potentially to a million over the next decade. We are now piloting in London, Manchester and Cardiff.”
Deputy Mayor Joanne McCartney showed support for the programme, providing youngsters with the opportunity to find footing in the challenging industry.
“Journalism has always been about who you know so they tend to pick their own, so it’s about breaking those barriers.”
Chairman of the London Press Club and Managing Editor of the London Evening Standard and The Independent, Doug Wills, told the aspiring young journalists: “Each of us was lucky to get a start and then stumble our way through; there didn’t used to be mentoring as such, there was a guy who pointed us in the right direction who said ‘just do it, just do it right. Be committed and keep going, one day a door, sometimes it’s wider than others, will open’.”
Guest speakers included Emma Howard, a journalist from Greenpeace and UpRising alumni, and Mihir Bose, (above) sports journalist, author and former BBC Sports Editor, who spoke about his own experience being mentored.
He said: “I was very lucky, one of my heroes was James Cameron. Those of you who want to become a journalist, let me say you should go and read ‘What a way to become a tribe’. It’s one of the greatest books of journalism, written on the run all over the world and he gave me his time, he spoke to me,” Bose said.
22nd March’2016, 12:25 GMT