Does the creative industry need more mentors?

Mentors can be invaluable when it comes to navigating the pitfalls of creative work, whether that’s getting a job, going freelance or launching a new business. So why don’t more of us seek them out, and why aren’t mentoring schemes more widespread?

For most of us, starting a new job, going freelance or setting up a business inevitably means making mistakes. It’s particularly true for anyone fresh out of university, who’s new to the world of work and feeling a bit lost. At times like these, it can help to have a guide – someone who’s been there before, made their own mistakes, and can give some good advice.

“When I started my own company I made some massive errors,” says Liz Stone, founder of creative studio OK Cool and recently launched mentoring programme OK Mentor. “I wish I’d had someone to talk to about it.”

The sentiment is a familiar one. Many of us muddle through things like tax returns and questions about what to charge people, and then never get a chance to pass that hard earned insight onto anyone else.

DESIGNER

Worthing, West Sussex

INDUSTRIAL DESIGNER

Frome, Somerset

SENIOR DESIGNER

Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire