Alumni Leadership Mentoring Programme
Mentored by Alan Davey
Tell us a bit about yourself, your mentorship and what you gained from taking part in the mentoring scheme.
Hi! My name is Noa and I’m a final year Music student. Over this academic year, I have been working with Alan Davey, controller of BBC Radio 3, through the ALMP scheme.
In our monthly meetings we worked together to work out what careers I was interested in pursuing, discussing different job roles, and areas of music I am interested in. From this I started to discover the great number of different routes I could take, from postgraduate study in composition and performance, to roles in arts administration to name a few. Unsurprising to those who know me well, I changed my mind on which area interested me most many times over the scheme. Writing this towards the end of the second semester, I can now see that my indecisiveness has somewhat come from a lack of experience and exposure to jobs roles within the music industry. As a result, I have decided to apply for work in arts administration for the time being, using employment as an opportunity to explore potential roles that interest me and find out first-hand what my likes, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses are within the world of work.
Away from the career search, in our meetings we also discussed a variety of topics concerning employment, as well as working on my CV, job applications, and interview prep. From these sessions I have learned how to write a good CV, as well as how to unapologetically sell myself to an employer. As a result, I have gained interviews for a few roles, and even though I have not been successful yet, I know that my application technique, proficiency, and confidence has improved because of Alan’s help.
For me, the highlight of working with Alan has not been his wealth of knowledge on arts industries. Instead, it has been his genuine interest and respect for me as a mentee. In every session we would both talk about what we had been up to in the last month, allowing me to learn about his job role, and him to understand what it is like to be a final year music student. Developing this connection helped us be able to honestly discuss careers and employment, making talking about big decisions much easier.
Did you have any preconceptions about the mentoring experience that were challenged as a result of your experience?
At the beginning of the year, I really didn’t know what to expect from mentoring. I went into the first meeting feeling pretty nervous, hoping that Alan’s help and guidance would be useful in helping me work out what I wanted to do after graduation, as at the time I was feeling quite lost! Over the year Alan has been extremely helpful in this, guiding me well throughout the year and making me understand that it is ok to not have your whole life planned out while you’re still studying!
What is one piece of advice you learnt from your mentor you could share with other students/graduates?
I think it would definitely be to not worry too much about your career. Of course, it is great to have aspirations and goals, but don’t let these fully define you. By having an open mind, you can find career routes and jobs that interest you much more than your original plans and enjoy these more than you could ever imagine!
Can you share any top tips for making the most of the mentoring opportunity and how to be an effective mentee?
A top tip from me would always to be honest with your mentor. Always keep them in the loop and let them know what you’re getting up to in your degree and where you are with plans for your career or employment after graduation. Having had many ideas about different careers, letting Alan know about these has allowed me to have honest discussions with him about these options, making me much more aware of what it is actually like to work in arts-related industries. Without going through these thought processes with him I think that I would still be as confused as I was six months ago right now.
Why would you recommend the scheme to other students?
I really suggest anyone to get involved with the programme – especially if you are unsure on what career path you want to take. Working with Alan has really changed my mindset on what it is to develop a career after graduation and that you don’t always need everything planned out in life before you do it!