The Guild of Food Writers Mentorship Scheme gives less experienced UK-based writers the opportunity to learn from more experienced ones.
This document is intended to be a starting point for both mentors and mentees potentially interested in taking part. If after reading this you decide you would definitely like to be involved now or in the future, you will find the next step below.
Mentoring leads to individual and professional growth and development. The relationship is highly personal, intentional and creative. The mentor offers encouragemement, commitment, support and guidance to a mentee, who is less experienced, and wants to change in some way.
Good mentoring is based on good values, honesty and trust. The Guild has a great start in this because it is a well run, decent operation run by volunteers, for the good of the profession.
Why have a mentor?
It is the duty of a Guild to support and encourage its younger members, so that they develop skills and rise in the profession.
Many Guild members have years of experience and it is a great feeling to pass knowledge on to someone who is thirsty for it. As such, mentoring is a two-way relationship, rather than a straightforward transfer of information from mentor to mentee. It is generally regarded as useful and enjoyable for the mentor, as well as for the mentee.
Early in 2020, the Guild ran a pilot scheme, in which two mentors were paired with two mentees. One mentee reported back: ‘My mentor has given me some great direction, and nudged me to think in a different way.
‘I'm one of those people I guess that don't need hand holding, just a gentle nudge to think in a different way and my mentor really helped me, I'm starting on my next book, and he helped me tweak the proposal to get this, so I'd say it's been a huge help. He has been brilliant.’
How it works
Mentoring seems to work best if both parties are clear from the outset what they are trying to achieve and how the mentorship will be conducted.
Your Mentorship Coordinator
Jenny Hammerton (email@example.com) is your point of contact for every aspect of the mentorship scheme.
If you decide, after reading these notes, that this is something that you would like to be involved in, then please contact Jenny, specifying whether you are interested in mentoring or being mentored. She will send you back a brief questionnaire about the skills on offer (mentors) or what you hope to achieve (mentee).
Mentorships are individually organised and depend on who steps forward and whether the right match can be found, so please do not be disappointed if your name does not come up immediately. We also have a strict limit on how many mentorships we can run at any one time, so there may be a considerable wait. That being said, Jenny is always on hand to discuss your situation with you, if that is helpful.
Once mentor and mentee have been paired, Jenny will send a brief document introducing you both, including a few suggestions for how to get the ball rolling. She will remain on hand throughout the six months, and will contact you halfway through the mentorship, to check all is running smoothly. When the mentorship ends, she will send you both the closing questionnaire.
We hope you will decide to take part in this exciting and worthwhile Guild initiative.
Guild Mentorship Organisers