The latest iteration of our ScreenSkills supported Making It Possible personal and career development programme has now reached an end for our three groups of participants. This programme is supported by ScreenSkills using National Lottery funds awarded by the BFI as part of the Future Film Skills programme.
We took Making It Possible fully online this time around so we could deliver it despite the regional and national lockdowns in place due to the COVID-19 situation across the country. Sessions took place from July through to October and participants spanned a range of positions within the screen sector, from writers and producers through to cinema staff working in exhibition and programming.
The core of the Making It Possible programme centres on live video sessions with Blaire Palmer, a coach and confidante for senior leaders and teams and a former BBC Radio 4 Today Programme producer. Blaire works hard to create a safe space for participants to talk about their personal frustrations, concerns and worries.
Our participants highlighted this safe space as one of their highlights of the programme.
“The ability to talk candidly with a number of peers who were in the same situation as me was a great release and has let me move on from the feeling of isolation I’ve often felt around these issues.”
“The best thing? Hearing other people say out loud what I had been thinking!”
“As a single parent, living away from my friends and support network, sharing stories with other parents and carers has reminded me I am not alone in my experience and has helped remind me to stay creative, find solutions and to be resilient.”
The live video sessions with Blaire were backed-up with video prompts for personal work and each group also had access to a private online discussion space to keep conversations going between their sessions with Blaire.
One constant with Making It Possible, whether run in person or online, is the ‘buddying-up’ element of the programme. Perhaps even more so this year our participants reported they had benefited from and appreciated this aspect in particular.
“I’m glad that the group may also stay in touch and for the new relationship with my ‘buddy’ which has been great and I hope will continue.”
“I still work regularly with my buddy and we keep each other accountable.”
“The buddying up was a fantastic idea and again forges connections and relationships that will endure beyond the programme.”
In order to take stock and reflect on the whole process of Making It Possible, from application stage through to final buddy-up meetings, we asked all the participants to complete a feedback questionnaire. Making It Possible is one of our most popular offerings and we’re keen to fine-tune and improve the content and our approach to build on its success and outcomes.
Over to our participants for their thoughts on what impact Making It Possible has had on their preparedness for the work they are currently doing or are aiming to do and to pick out some of the positive highlights from taking part…
“It’s given me a sense of confidence and more importantly some practical tools for tackling obstacles I may face in my career. It’s kickstarted a programme of self care and action planning that I hope will ensure I stay on my path!”
“It has given me a focus at a time when I’m trying to move forward with my career. It has also helped me identify some of the personal issues I’ve had that have hindered my work, and try to move past them.”
“It has really helped me to think positively and constructively to start to make steps out of a situation of complete paralysis and to move forwards to getting back into work. In addition to the thinking part, I have actually taken some concrete steps and begun work on a new project. I was grateful for the connection with other people in a similar situation.”
“It has made me bolder and more ambitious – much of the work I’ve done these past few months wouldn’t have been done without this course.”
“It was really wonderful to be accepted onto the scheme to begin with and was a great validation – I felt seen for the first time in a while and that immediately filled me with hope. It was incredible to be part of such a talented group that faced a range of challenges with an abundance of warmth and ingenuity. Blaire was a wonderful leader and held a safe, nourishing space for us all. Overall, the sessions allowed me to think about setting goals and whilst I’m still working on it, they were so key to considering I could stay in the industry.”
“I’m amazed and heartened by all the work and sensitivity that went into the scheme.”
“It has given me the confidence to step into the role of producer and really put myself out there.”
The participant’s feedback also provided us with some areas for improvement, specifically around fine-tuning the buddying-up process, streamlining the fully online aspect of the programme, offering additional sessions on specific subject areas, offering prompts for group work outside the timetabled sessions, extending the length of the programme, facilitating smaller groups for breakout sessions and offering one-to-one sessions with Blaire in preparation for participating in the programme.
These are all areas we will look to address as we seek out funding to run Making It Possible in the future. For now we extend huge thanks to our funders ScreenSkills, to Blaire Palmer for her supportive and encouraging approach to delivering the programme and of course to all our participants for their openness, energy, time and commitment to the programme and their personal and professional development.
Image: © Warner Bros. Entertainment
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