The Into Games mentorship programme links mentees with a games industry professional with the aim of building up their confidence, skills, and network to eventually better access a career in the games sector. We are immensely proud of the programme and we love hearing from both mentors and mentees about their experience. In this blog series, we aim to highlight some of our favourite stories of mentees going on to get their first games industry job thanks to the guidance they have gained from their mentor.
Michael and his mentor Chihiro were kind enough to answer some questions about their experience...
What made you apply to the Into Games mentorship programme?
Michael: I became a mentee for Into Games after I won the BAFTA YGD 2020, it was arranged so that I could gain an insight into the games industry and hopefully help shape the path I should take post-A-level. Into Games actually managed to pair me with two mentors from different parts of the industry which really allowed me to get a sense of which specific part of the industry I wanted to work in.
Chihiro: I've always considered myself lucky to have stumbled into working in the games industry. It can seem daunting or rather opaque to those who want to start a career here. I've had mentees at companies I've worked at, and they've told me that they've valued my help, so I thought I'd see if Into Games was a way to help some others in a way that was fairly easy for me to commit to and enjoy.
How did you work with your mentor/mentee and what was the experience like?
Michael: I worked with my mentors by direct message. We would discuss particular topics which interested me, how they got to be where they are and things I could do to help me improve. Overall it was a really positive experience, to be able to have direct access to people in the industry is such a useful tool but one that I would never have gotten without Into Games. The mentors were friendly and full of enthusiasm for games which was instantly relatable for me.
Chihiro: I've been using the text chat, though I'm open to more direct contact as one of my mentees is now 18, and I've just been given another already in their 20s. It's always encouraging to talk to people with genuine enthusiasm and interest in what you do, and all the mentees I've had have been proactive about their passion for games and that has been great to see. Michael has clearly spent a lot of his own time thinking and working on projects and is clear-sighted about how he can look for a career. I think strong mentorship isn't about telling mentees what to do, but rather encourage mentees to think for themselves, and use my experience and insight to give context and fuel for their own decisions.
Would you recommend the Into Games mentorship programme?
Michael: I would highly recommend this mentorship programme, like I said, to be able to have direct access to people so high up in the industry is such a useful asset but one I haven't seen used in other programs for more than a quick chat or so. For the last few months, I was able to have any question I thought of answered in a matter of minutes which was invaluable when planning for my future career.
Chihiro: Yes, I enjoy doing it. Sometimes it's nice to talk to people to help you realise that you have learnt something and you do know what you're talking about, especially these days when communications are increasingly within your own bubble. For mentees: absolutely. Getting any insight from real people doing real jobs in the career that you want is invaluable. The games industry, in particular, is idiosyncratic and without any formal career path, which makes just talking to someone there even more important.
What kind of person do you think our programme would suit?
Michael: I think this programme would suit anyone with an interest in games but that may be confused about how games companies operate. I started last year with a bag full of questions and started this year with most of them being answered. For anyone considering a career in the games industry, this programme is invaluable.
Chihiro: As a mentee, someone proactive and passionate in games just looking for encouragement and guidance to help point them in the right direction. As a mentor, someone who wants to help others into the industry they love, and enjoys talking to young people who are enthusiastic about their craft.
If this interview has got you interested in signing up to the Into Games mentorship programme check out more info here, and be sure to follow us on Twitter.