The impact of the global pandemic has caused misery and despair for many of the 30 trainees set to start the MYP intensive production course just days before the country went into lockdown. Since then the charity has taken to Zoom in a bid to boost morale, providing a variety of training sessions and presentations covering everything from editing and production procedure to writing a brief. Finally, in line with the latest government guidelines and with the support of Sky, BBC and the charity’s high profile industry partners, the show must go on …
Many of the candidates who originally applied for the training as early November last year were recruited in February having made it through a rigorous two stage interview process. The trainees had already put plans in place to begin their new lives. In some cases they had relocated, giving up existing jobs and prioritising their savings. Here, they speak out about how the lockdown has affected them:
Bob Clarke, CEO MAMA Youth Project said, “The wellbeing of our alumni and new trainees, many of whom come from challenging backgrounds and suffer from mental health issues, has been paramount at this difficult time. Due to the Coronavirus along with all other businesses, our charity has been subject to unprecedented circumstances. In addition to raising money through our Hardship Fund (Covid-19)* and supporting existing alumni with their employment needs, we have been striving to manage the disappointment and rising anxiety of our newest trainees by keeping them engaged through Zoom training sessions and 1-2-1’s. It is now more important than ever before to open doors for young people from all backgrounds and we are looking forward to resuming production, getting back to what we do best and leaving the virtual meeting room behind as our only source of contact.”
*To make a Donation to our Covid-19 Hardship Fund, click here.
The MYP team have recognised the need for reassurance during the lockdown and have been supporting young people in a variety of ways with everything from pastoral care to distributing lap- tops to those unable to job search, work or train from home with limited resources.
Thanks to Sky who provide the project with production offices at their Osterley based campus and have ensured the environment will be safe provided new protocol is followed, the trainees will be able to work on site from July.
The 14 week unique training model where participants learn in a ‘live’ disciplined work environment to produce quality content for a national television show has already released over 500 talented young people into the industry from under-represented backgrounds.
The candidates who specialise in camera, sound, editing, production management and television research are given the skills and experience to gain fulfilling employment.
MAMA Youth’s twice-yearly boot camp style training is followed by industry placements as well as long term career support with 100% of it’s alumni working in the media industry 6 months after the programme.
Keen to put the uncertainty and the long wait behind them, the Season 18 cohort will doubtlessly be one of the most grateful teams to start in the charity’s 15 year history!
Marina Salhi, Trainee Production Coordinator said, “Getting accepted for the training gave me motivation again. For the first time in a long time I was excited to leave the house. Not only was it a new start for me professionally but in many ways, it was also a new start for me as a person. Having all that taken away was a difficult pill to swallow at first, but I was never alone in this and the MYP staff have been really helpful throughout these trying times.”
Mirjam Tjulkin, Trainee Production Coordinator added, “I had quit my hospitality job just a couple of days before the start of the training and called all my family and friends to tell them the good news. Myself and three other girls even started the training in March until the second day when they announced the lockdown. I had never been so disappointed. I had just started accepting the fact that I had been picked out of so many and I was really starting this amazing training, when it all got paused.”
Carrie McAlinden, Trainee Editor spoke about her experience so far, “When I found out the training was going to be put on hold I'd already set in motion my plan to move to London from rural Northern Ireland. I had left my full-time job and was in the process of meeting landlords. It felt like my life was finally going somewhere when suddenly I found myself on a plane back home. It was honestly heart breaking.
Now being told this is it - this is the date you start, has given me life again. I have something to work towards and a sense of purpose. Despite the current situation, I feel like we’re going to make something we can be proud of.”
Trainee Researcher, Lucero Reyes Reyes said,“It’s a pity that we’re not going to be able to live this experience in the same way other trainees have in the past due to social distancing but I’m still looking forward to learning as much as possible about the industry that I love and I can’t wait to get started!”
Minahil Khan, also on the Trainee Research team added, “All the staff are A-MAZING and have reached out to us and made sure we are fine, including Bob, who with his busy schedule still held an individual meeting with all of the cohort. That sets the tone for the rest of the programme; I feel like I am in great hands and cannot wait to learn the skills of the trade.”