24 year old Irham Ehsan, joined us on the 4Reel training programme in 2016 by finding out about us from a career advisor at a JobCentre Plus. In partnership with Creative Skillset & the Hiive, MAMA Youth helped make Irham's dream become a reality.
"My journey at Mama Youth Project was a life changing one, to say the least! I joined the scheme as a last ditch attempt to enter the TV industry – after graduating in 2014, I’d been unlucky with almost a hundred job applications, so turned to education as my backup, and was working as a special needs teaching assistant in a prep school. In the back of my head, my love for the media and television was always there, but I felt like I didn’t know how to enter the industry with what I had. I always felt like everyone else had a headstart.
Then came the MAMA Youth Project. I applied, not thinking I’d get in. And, lo and behold – I got in! I was ecstatic and had never been so happy while handing in a resignation. As much as I was fitting in at the school, I knew that this wasn’t my field. I was wired to work with computers, not with children. I always knew I wanted to work in TV and that I was suited to this industry. I’d go home from a long day’s teaching to absorb hours and hours of television.
What made the whole process even more exhilarating was my vision of the item I’d create – I went on to create a 5 minute piece as part of 4Reel, an hour long current affair show, new for 2016. My piece was about honour killings and honour based abuse – something very personal to me. I carried my vision through the 8 weeks and ended up with a great piece, thanks to the 4ReeL team.
When we started the course, I was barely speaking and hid in the corner most of the time. Growing up with social anxiety, I always favoured hiding in the background – it was where I felt comfortable. But the team at MAMA Youth helped push me to the front – by the end of the 8 weeks, I was so towards the front of the stage that I almost fell off! I came out of the course happier, livelier, louder, and prouder. My anxieties around people were gone, and I was much more confident about myself and my abilities.
I worked tirelessly for 8 weeks as a trainee researcher, producing my piece from end to end with the help of the other 9 trainees and staff at MYP such as; Bob, Mostafa, Jacqueline, Serena and the rest of the team. It was the most I’ve ever learnt in such a short space of time and half of the things I learnt, we didn’t even touch on in university, while doing my media degree! I learnt how to communicate better, and I hit a personal milestone – I learnt how to keep eye contact.
As we finished the course, I went on to a placement at Endemol Shine UK, in the digital department.
5 months later, I’m still here on a contract. I love my team, and I love what I do. I work in a dual role – running for both the multiplatform and social media teams in the digital department. I help build websites, I edit pictures, videos, but the bulk of my time is spent writing content plans or subtitling videos that go on social media – something I’ve always wanted to do. I couldn’t be happier in this role and hopefully I’ll still be here for the considerable future!
To anyone considering the MAMA Youth Project – it’ll change your life. The opportunities it opens is incredible and you’ll be astonished to see how many different doors can open when you know the right people and build connections. And, you’re gaining a whole new network in the form of the MAMA Youth Family.” - February 2017