A new Professional Mentoring Scheme at the Centre for Journalism (CfJ) will match students with CfJ alumni working as journalists and beyond.
The Scheme, established by CfJ alumnus Seb Jenkins, seeks to build on the Centre’s unique “family feel”. It will launch next month and is open to all journalism students at any stage of study at Kent – the deadline for application is Monday 17 May.
Seb graduated from CfJ with a Journalism BA degree in 2018. He’s since built a successful freelance career, describing himself on LinkedIn as “Journalist, Freelance Writer, Social Media Manager, and Author.”
Seb said: ‘It occurred to me that the mentoring scheme concept could work really well at the CFJ due to the small number of students on the course and the real family feel provided at the centre. I know from my time there that everyone knows everyone, no matter what year they are in, whether they are an undergraduate student, postgraduate student or member of staff.’
“At the CFJ, there are always, always, always plenty of doors open. You can go and have a chat with the lecturers about whatever issues you are having. However, during my time at Kent, I think I – and my fellow students – could have benefited from some input from people who had gone through the exact same experience just a few years before.’
Many CfJ alumni continue to support the Centre after graduating by getting involved with Open Days at Kent or by supporting activities across their social channels such as regular Live events on Instagram and Seb wanted to take advantage of such a wonderful resource in the mentoring scheme.
Seb said: ‘I knew for a fact that many alumni would be well up for giving some advice to the younger years, so a Mentoring Scheme just made sense.’
Intended benefits of the Scheme for students include:
- Informal career guidance from a person working within journalism
- An objective viewpoint on the current jobs market
- An insight into what to expect in daily life as a trainee
- Access to someone willing to share their experience of study and career planning
- A chance to extend your professional network
- Employability Points – 15 points for being in the Scheme and the chance to earn more depending on any other opportunities that develop through the Scheme (eg a visit to a place of work/work experience etc.)
Seb said: ‘The Scheme will give current students a point of contact to ask for advice on anything from day-to-day CFJ stuff and networking in the industry to writing a CV and looking for a permanent job once you graduate. It’s always good to have contacts and a mentor is one of the best resources out there for students, especially in the journalism industry.’
Initially, mentees and mentors will interact virtually – face-to-face meetings may come in time. This first scheme begins in June, with introductions via email, and will end in December. The second phase of the Scheme will launch in January 2022, with applications opening in November 2021.
The Scheme is administered for the Centre by the Employability and Placements Team at Kent’s Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice (LSSJ). Application forms have already been emailed to students, but any enquiries (and completed applications) can be sent to Employability & Placements Manager Jayne Instone via: email@example.com
Seb will be closely involved with the process of matching students to mentors and encourages anyone with questions to get in touch – he said: ‘My socials and emails are always open for a chat.’