Back for its third year, Learning the Ropes is a transformative six-month mentoring programme for young creatives aged 18-30 who are currently underrepresented in the TV industry and are looking to get into all areas of TV Production and Digital Content Creation.

The initiative is co-designed by household TV and broadcast name Dermot O’ Leary’s Tuskar Trust; Fremantle UK, the British production arm of global entertainment group Fremantle; and London based bespoke mentoring offer, Meet a Mentor.

Since its inception in 2021, more than 40 young people have participated in the Learning the Ropes mentoring programme, with 75% going into full time and freelance roles for leading production companies and programmes including The Garden Productions, This Morning, Soccer Aid, Raw TV, Rogue Films, Element Pictures, 42 Film, Meteorite, and Wonderhood Studios.

Created in response to the lack of representation in the TV industry, the scheme originated three years ago with London youth charity A New Direction and comprises of one-to-one mentoring, inspirational talks, networking, CV and job application support all in addition to a three-day intensive TV Bootcamp.

The mentoring meet ups, which are held at Fremantle UK’s headquarters in central London, are hosted by Dermot O’ Leary.

This year’s iteration of the programme is matching 26 mentees from a range of educational and professional backgrounds with 26 industry mentors from organisations including Fremantle UK labels, BBC studios, Channel 4, Craft Films, Insanity and Banijay UK, as well as award-winning Freelance Directors and Producers.

Dermot O’Leary, Broadcaster, Producer and Author, said: “I’m very proud to see the Learning the Ropes programme return for a third year. I originally founded Tuskar Trust to help support young people from all backgrounds get a start in the world of broadcasting. It’s been a pleasure, teaming up with some amazing colleagues and friends in the industry to continue that mission through Learning the Ropes. We’ve been delighted to see some great careers being built and are beginning to create a legacy. I can’t wait to meet this new wave of talent and see where this journey takes them.”

Amelia Brown, CEO of Fremantle UK, said: “It’s never been more important to support those underrepresented in our industry and we are very proud to have been part of Learning the Ropes since its inception. We look forward to opening our doors to this year’s cohort and we are excited to see where the programme takes them.”

Fran Plowright, founder of Meet a Mentor, said: “I am delighted to be working with both Tuskar Trust and Fremantle UK for this third iteration of the Learning the Ropes mentoring programme. Since founding Meet a Mentor seven years ago, I have witnessed time and again the amazing impact and difference having someone in your corner can make to a young creative’s career opportunities and trajectory. By encouraging the building of relationships between our mentees and mentors, they develop bonds that stretch beyond the programme, creating new networks and renewed confidence to proceed in a world that all too often is about who you know, rather than what you know or how well you do it.”

Sara Taleghani Director, Creative and Learning the Ropes 2023 Alumna, said: “It’s hard to put into words how much I’ve got out of this programme. I had the pleasure of being paired with scriptwriter and author Ivor Baddiel, who helped me hone my scriptwriting skills, offered a sounding board for creative ideas and guided me through challenging work situations. I also had access to other mentors and industry professionals who provided support with everything from refining treatment pitches and story building to pitching for brand partnerships. Additionally, thanks to Hot Cam, I had access to a full industry camera and lighting kit at no charge for a short film I was working on, which greatly helped me build my directing portfolio,”

Learning the Ropes runs until 16th October 2024.