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'I soon discovered there are a lot of closed doors out there.'

Melissa is a 2021 mentee and has already secured an ongoing internship with creative agency FCB Inferno.

Both my parents are first generation immigrants from Singapore. They migrated to London, leaving the comfort of family hoping to give me better job opportunities. After all, anything deemed ‘creative’ is not even a career possibility in The Land of the Lions. This meant building a network was extremely difficult when your circle of people is so minute.

It’s very intimidating to reach out and establish new contacts in a pale-and-male dominated industry.

After seeing the 2002 Honda Cog Ad on TV between my cartoons, at ten-years-old I sent a letter to Wieden+Kennedy asking to visit their offices. Little did I know that a two-hour visit on a bleak Thursday afternoon would fuel my dreams for the next eight years to come.

At A-level, I decided in the heat of the moment to pick Media as my final subject. Halfway through my course, I realised how important industry experience is, but I soon discovered that there are a lot of closed doors out there. To combat this feeling of inadequacy, a visit to the school’s careers advisor brought up Arts Emergency.

After signing up, I met my wonderful mentor Jass. From the get-go she treated me as a younger sister and got to work developing my interview skills. Four months into the mentorship, she helped me secure a job as a Social Media Youth Worker for a Youth Hub. This was my first direct industry-related job, and it exposed me to the idea of working in social media.

On top of our monthly mentorship sessions, she then invited me into her workplace at FCB Inferno, a creative agency, for an ongoing internship split between the Communications and Design Teams. That 1:1 experience has opened me to the possibility of working in a communication role post-university and nurtured my skills ready for my next steps.

I’ve recently found out that I will be studying Digital Media at the University of Leeds next year, it truly is a dream come true!