What is a digital mentor?
We recruit recent graduates and young professionals in the creative and media industries to mentor high street businesses. They join our programme and receive the training needed to help mentor local business owners. They are then paired to local businesses and will provide the mentoring needed to help local businesses get online and make the most of digital marketing.
Why become a mentor?
Why it matters
As you know, we have a passion for high streets. What would a community look like without a high street? Just think of what we would lose. It is a place for the elderly and the isolated to escape their solitary confinement, to find a friendly face, to seek the comfort of human interaction and to exchange a few greetings. It is a place for the young to find opportunity, their first job and to formulate their views of the world. It is a place for the working population to make a living and support the livelihood of thousands of households.
There is a national crisis though. Across the country, high streets are struggling to adapt in the face of changing shopping habits and footfall is no longer what it used to be. This has resulted in high levels of vacancy rates, business churn, unemployment and disenfranchisement. Is it a coiincidence that mental health and loneliness are epidemic of modern day society?
At Social Streets we are working on solutions to bring the high street back to life, and to support the high street businesses who run those shops, market stalls and services that offer valuable spaces and opportunity for the community to connect and thrive.
One way we can tackle this social problem is to help local businesses make the most of digital marketing opportunities, most of which are affordable, many of which are free.
Why high street business owners need more help than most
A lot of people struggle with digital marketing, but it's even harder for high street businesses. Why?
Like many small businesses and sole traders, shop owners have to wear different hats and be good at a wide range of different skills: bookkeeping, customer service, styling, purchasing, sales, even building maintenance. As any freelancer or sole traders knows, it is hard for one person to be an expert in all these areas, and digital marketing is often relegated the bottom of the 'to do' list. On top of that, shop keepers have an additional pressure. Not only do they have to be a master of all trades, but they have even less time than other small businesses because they are serving customers all day. That means they have often have to catch up with business essentials during evenings and weekends.
All mentoring programmes are based at one of our Social Streets Campuses, the original one being Social Streets Campus Bow.
The campus follows the academic year as it offers courses and clubs for school children, helping local young people from disadvantaged areas gain experience and opportunity in creative and media industries.
Term 1 - Learning
All new recruits are required to attend a term of weekly evening classes. Mentors are taught the Social Streets curriculum, how to mentor entry-level students and how to deliver a workshop. There is no cost to this.
Term 2 - Front line experience
In the second term, our Digital Mentors are paired with local businesses and meet them once a week to give them one-to-one mentoring. The sessions are two hours long. Digital Mentors will be assigned different businesses at different times depending on their speciality and the needs of the business.
Term 3 - Teaching
Our Digital Mentors staff alternate between a weekly drop-in clinic at the Campus that is open to local businesses who need ongoing help, and a weekly programme of evening workshops open to local businesses.
There is an intake every term, ensuring we have a cluster of mentors learning, gaining front line experience and teaching at any one time.
Become a digital mentor
What we look for
Our Digital Mentors come from all types of creative and media backgrounds: bloggers, social media managers, photographers, graphic designers, web developers and search engine optimisers. What unites them is their passion for social action. And their desire to make a difference in their own backyard.
We recruit locally ensuring that local connections are made and economic benefit is retained within the community. We also work with local university to give graduates an opportunity to give back to the community from which they were educated.
- - Demonstrable academic achievement or professional experience in digital content
- - Eligibility to work and volunteer in the EU
- - Ability to commit to the dates of the programme and live in London for the duration
- - Willingness to undertake a Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly CRB) check
Application and selection
We have two intakes per year, kicking off their mentoring in Spring and Autumn.
Sign up now to get access to the application form.
Our application process is outlined below.
No. We believe that Social Streets can provide opportunity for more profound personal and professional development than many traditional qualifications – it's experiential, based in the real world and driven by you.
Our digital mentors gain a huge amount from volunteering their time over the year:
- - Free training to deepen their practice and learn how to mentor
- - A professional reference from us
- - Networking and collaboration opportunities
- - Access to our job board advertising local creative and media jobs
- - Paid speaking opportunities
- - Access to our Almuni Community online and at regular networking events
- - Fhe feel good factor of having helped their community
Become a Faculty member
Alumni of our Digital Mentor Programme have the opportunity of becoming a Faculty member. Our Faculty members are based full time at the Campus and receive free desk space in return for giving one day per week to teaching and creating digital content for the Social Streets high street titles.