Managers in the cultural sector are intelligent, educated people who can benefit enormously from the support and challenge of a mentor from business bringing a fresh perspective to their work.

Over the first 10 years that the Skills Bank operated, many of the advisory placements arranged by Business in the Arts:North West involved an element of mentoring. The Mentoring programme is designed to fulfill this identified need of arts and museum managers to gain support for their management development. Whilst the programme focuses on the individual, it is anticipated that there will be clear benefits for the organisations who employ them.

Who is it for?

Arts and museum managers who run small organisations or hold positions in the top two, or possibly three, tiers of management in larger organisations. Arts managers will gain free, one to one support in relation to the challenges they face at work. A business mentor will share his or her experience to help an arts manager to develop confidence, acquire further skills and perhaps try out new techniques so as to improve the fulfilment of their role and the management of their organisation.

Business people who have worked at management level for at least five years and have experience of managing and developing people are the most suitable mentor candidates. BIA:NW mentors can sharpen their development skills, improve their interpersonal communications and self awareness and discover new ways of problem solving – all in a different and stimulating environment. The mentor can then apply these skills with more confidence in their own workplace.

How does it work?

As with other BIA:NW schemes, there is an emphasis on preparation to ensure that both parties gain the maximum benefit from their involvement. All arts managers first complete a self evaluation form to enable the individual to consider carefully their development needs and the best way of meeting them. A meeting is then held with the BIA:NW manager following which an application is completed. The arts manager will then attend a preparatory induction session to ensure an understanding of how the scheme operates and what can be expected.

Following registration onto the scheme, business mentors are also required to attend an induction session to ensure an appropriate understanding and expectation of the programme and to provide an introduction to the cultural sector.

All mentoring relationships are confirmed on paper and clear goals set. The length of a mentoring relationship is likely to be about 9 months with approximately monthly meetings.

Over 160 mentoring projects have been arranged so far and both mentees and mentors are hugely enthusiastic about their experiences. Click here to read what they say.