Former TBWA head of strategy Nicky Bryson and under 30s industry body Youngbloods have joined forces to launch a new cross-industry initiative, The Trenches, to empower and support young talent.
The initiative was formed in a bid to help those facing increased pressure and exposure alongside the effects of a "longer deliverables, shorter deadlines, fewer resources, smaller budgets, evolve or die culture".
Research conducted by Youngbloods revealed that 96% of under 30 year olds in the industry lack access to mentors or a mentoring program independent of their organisation.
Spearheaded by Bryson and developed in consultation and partnership with Youngbloods, The Trenches is a free and inclusive industry-wide mentoring initiative that aims to fill a "much-needed" gap in the market.
The research revealed the need for independent, objective and honest advice on the difficult to discuss topics from those who had experienced it or can give breadth of industry perspective.
The top four things young people find currently most challenging being: negotiating pay rises and promotions, maintaining boundaries and saying no, mental stress and anxiety, and managing workload and burnout.
After being hospitalised with severe burnout earlier this year Bryson found herself approached by others wanting to share their stories, challenges and journeys, but it was young people in particular who felt fear around where they were now, and where they were going.
She says the research found a "hunger" for the industry to become more collaborative and less competitive.
“I believe hearing about others’ experiences and challenges can be a catalyst of change in yourself. Be it general career advice or progression, navigating politics or real personal struggles, nothing is off limits, our mentors have signed up to a vacuum of vulnerability," Bryson says.
“Seeing how leaders have gone through similar situations removes the stigma of guilt and failure or the inertia to empower positive action. This is why The Trenches is about experience sharing as much as advice giving."
The Trenches is available for anyone in the media, creative, marketing, consulting or technology sectors, with over 50 mentors already signed up across Sydney and Melbourne.
There are no age barriers, and mentees gain access to up to five mentors over a six to eight month period.
“A key focus for us this year is to encourage our peers to be more honest and vulnerable with themselves and each other in order to create a more open and empowered industry. The Trenches is a massive step towards this," says Matt Gardener, national chairman for Youngbloods.
“This program will reduce the barriers in genuinely connecting, being vulnerable and feeling comfortable in discussing the topics that affect us - resulting in a healthier, happier, stronger industry. We hope that breaking down these existing silos and internal feedback loops will also result in a bit of industry cross pollination and stimulate growth or at the very least more expansive thinking.”
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