How will the scheme work?
The BME PR Pros/PRWeek Mentoring Scheme is open to UK-based comms professionals from an ethnic minority background who have worked in the industry for a minimum of six months.

Successful applicants will be matched with mentors who are deemed to be the best fit for their particular circumstances. They will receive advice and guidance through four sessions from April to September: three face-to-face and one remote meeting.

The closing date for applications is 17.00 on Friday 14 February 2020 and successful applicants will be notified by Monday 16 March 2020.

Why is the scheme only open to professionals from an ethnic minority background?
Figures show people from black, Asian, mixed race and ethnic minority backgrounds are underrepresented in PR and communications. This mentoring scheme is one of many initiatives developed by BME PR Pros aimed at increasing ethnic diversity in the sector.

What are you looking for in mentees?
The mentoring scheme has been deliberately designed to be solution-focused so we’re looking for pros with a clear understanding of the support they need.

We are looking for mentees that know why they want a mentor and what they want from mentoring. Be it getting a new job, applying for a promotion, changing sectors, setting up an agency, developing a team or winning more clients – the clearer the aim, the more our mentors can help and the more mentees will get out of the scheme.

We are looking for mentees who will fully commit to the process, communicate in a timely manner and treat mentors and the BME PR Pros team with the same respect and courtesy they will receive throughout the process. Needless to say: time wasters and the flaky need not apply. Sorry! 🙂

How will mentees be chosen?
A shortlist will be drawn up by an independent panel and the final eighteen will be picked by the mentors.

If I’m successful, how will I be matched? Could I choose my mentor?

Successful applicants will be matched to mentors that are the best fit for their circumstances and their career goals. The final eighteen will be chosen by the mentors. Mentees cannot choose their mentors.

If I’m unsuccessful will I get feedback?
I’m afraid not. BME PR Pros has limited capacity and will not be able to feedback to unsuccessful applicants.

I’ve only been working in PR for six months and would love some support navigating the sector. Could a mentor help with this?
Absolutely. Our mentors include rising stars from in-house and agency backgrounds that can provide invaluable support and advice on staying on and climbing that ladder.

I’ve worked in PR for years and consider myself a PR pro. I don’t need to sharpen my PR skills but I’d really like to set up my own PR agency or go freelance, can a mentor help me with this?
Yes. Our mentors include an agency owner and MD who can offer guidance and support on setting up, building and managing an agency and winning clients.

I’m interested in developing a creative career within PR. Can a mentor help with this?
Yes. Several of our mentors produce creative consumer work and of course, we have the incredibly talented Lee-Tze Leong, Art Director at Omnicom Group, on board. If you are less about media relations and hard news and more about developing creative work, we have the mentors for you.

Hold up! I am more about hard news and media relations. Do any of the mentors tick those boxes?
Absolutely! Amongst our mentors are corporate communication pros used to working in hard fast news. Our mentors also come from a range of sectors from travel to tech, media to publishing.

I didn’t go to Oxbridge, I didn’t get into PR on a fancy internship, I don’t work for a top ten agency, I’ve never won a Cannes Lions, I was never a ’30 under 30’ – be honest, if I applied you wouldn’t pick me for the scheme, would you?
The BME PR Pros/PRWeek Mentoring Scheme is about supporting Black, Asian, mixed race and ethnic minority professionals from all professional and personal backgrounds. We don’t care about your socio-economic background, if you went to uni or if you work for a “famous” agency. We’re just looking for talented, passionate, individuals with clear career goals that we can help them fulfil.

Hold up! I did go to Oxbridge, started my career on an amazing internship and yes, I’ve been to Cannes Lion. Does that mean my application won’t get a look in?
Not at all! We’ll say it again (for the people at the back ;-)): we’re just looking for talented, passionate, individuals with clear career goals that we can help them fulfil.

I’m a mother and I’ve struggled to develop my career since returning from maternity leave. Is this something the mentors will understand?
Yes! Our mentors include parents who understand the challenges of juggling parenthood and a demanding career.

If I’m picked as a mentee, what will be expected of me?
You’ll need to be available for an introductory Skype/telephone call in March, to meet your mentor three times face to face (April to June) and a fourth time remotely (September).

You will also need to attend a photoshoot in London on Wednesday 15 April 2020.

You’ll need to be committed to the process and do all those things we expect of professionals (turn up on time, complete agreed actions, respond to communication from your mentor and BME PR Pros in a timely fashion etc etc). You will be required to complete a monthly check-in form and end of mentoring evaluation form.

Failure to commit or maintain timely communication may result in you being removed from
the programme – should you be picked, of course.

Most of your mentors are in London but I’m not based there. If I’m picked as a mentee, can we meet halfway?
I’m afraid not. If you’re successful you will need to meet our mentors at the location where they are based.

Will the scheme run again?
We hope so! However, there is no guarantee. Please follow @bmeprpros on Twitter for the latest news.

I’m thinking of applying. Can I contact Elizabeth Bananuka or a Mentor directly to discuss my application?
I’m afraid not. Neither Elizabeth nor any of the mentors can discuss or advise on individual applications.

Okay, I want to apply! Any tips?
Yes! Three:
1/ Make sure you include a reference – not referee contact details but the actual reference pasted in the relevant section.
2/ Mentors can’t help mentees that don’t know what they want so make sure you state the three things you want a mentor to assist you with.
3/ Make the deadline – no ifs, buts, maybes.

What is BME PR Pros?
BME PR Pros aims to promote BME diversity in PR and communications. The initiative was founded by – and is led by – Elizabeth Bananuka.

All BME PR Pros events are delivered by speakers from black, Asian, mixed race and ethnic minority ethnic and all content on the site is produced by or focuses on BME professionals.

BME PR Pros is unfunded. Speakers, mentors and writers all contribute their time and/or content for free.

Is the BME PR Pros/PRWeek Mentoring Scheme funded?
No. BME PR Pros has not received any funding or sponsorship to develop or manage the scheme.

What if I want to know more BME PR Pros?
No problem, check out this Q and A.

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