NZGDA 2020 Mentorship Scheme

We’re delighted to formally open applications for the NZGDA 2020 Mentorship Scheme, supported by a grant from the NZFC. Applications are welcomed from both potential Mentors and Mentees at their respective links at the end of this story.

It has taken longer to work out the best way in which to operate the scheme than anticipated. We had a draft plan… And then Covid-19 both took time from the Board in dealing with its fallout, and also posed significant risks around future travel as we cannot predict how this challenge will unfold domestically in New Zealand through 2020.

For this reason, with the full support of NZFC, we have completely rewritten the plan to offer the programme remotely. This also brings many other advantages, not least of which is to make the financial support go further as we eliminate travel, accommodation and catering costs. It also demands less time from Mentors and Mentees and mitigates any future Covid-19 problems. We have proved that remote mentoring can work well with recent Kiwi Game Starter mentorships.

The NZGDA 2020 Mentorship Scheme is separate from Kiwi Game Starter; entrants may apply for and participate in either or both. Kiwi Game Starter details will be announced in the next month or so.

Eligibility

  • Mentee applicants must be 18 or over and be involved in active pre-production or production on a game intended for commercial release. As long as Mentees are directly involved in the making and/or commercialisation of the game, they can be from any relevant discipline – programming, art, audio, production, marketing and so on.
  • Applicants must be living in New Zealand and hold student, resident or work visas, or NZ citizenship. Applications from Mentees with more experience looking to learn new skills, or upskill, are as welcome as those with less experience.
  • Mentor applicants must have a minimum of 3 years’ experience making or commercialising games and may be from outside NZ, though references may be required if your work is not familiar to the NZGDA.
  • We especially welcome applications from groups underrepresented in the industry, for example in terms of gender, ethnicity, LGBTQ+, persons with disability and so on.
  • The decisions of the NZGDA panel are final.

Time commitment

We will not be able to quantify this precisely until we have a set of Mentors and Mentees, and an idea of how to match the partnerships. However, as a guideline, Mentees should expect to attend several 1-2 hour sessions online at Stages 1 and 2; Mentors to deliver at least one 1-2 hour session at Stage 1 and perhaps three 1 hour sessions at Stage 2; additional activity will be agreed on a case by case basis. The NZGDA will be respectful of personal situations and flexible with commitments where possible.

The nature of these sessions is likely to be more question and answer focused rather than requiring the preparation of presentations or lesson plans, but Mentors will be welcome to use support materials as they deem necessary.

Process

Please apply for Mentee or Mentor status using the application form links below. Please answer questions honestly, and there are opportunities to add comments to clarify anything further down the forms. There are no right or wrong answers, and we have no agenda for selecting certain specialisations or persons.

We have learned from Kiwi Game Starter that we improved outcomes for mentees when we left the program undefined until the finalists were known. The best results will come if we design the mentorship programme once we have an overview of the applicants and mentors.

  • Stage 1 will be a more general round with more group sessions – led by a Mentor(s) with several Mentee attendees. This will be lighter work for Mentors (probably just one or two each) and more work for Mentees (depending on the level of specialisation, from one to six or seven – solo devs should expect to need to attend more sessions than experienced staff looking to upskill).
  • Stage 2 will be more specialised – after Stage 1, feedback and training request forms will be circulated and more bespoke sessions will be put together. These may be one on one or group sessions of a more targeted nature.
  • Stage 3 activities will be confirmed closer to the time – it will include a full Post Mortem and contact sharing / networking, either virtually or in person depending on where we are with Covid-19.

There will be a full assessment of the success of the Scheme after it closes and lessons learned will be applied to future schemes.

Technology / Access

We are assessing platforms and technologies right now, but we know we can fall back on Doodle for session timing and dates and Zoom or Hangouts for sessions if dedicated mentorship platforms fall short or are too expensive. As long as you can listen and view a screenshare online, you can potentially participate. We will work on plans for people with accessibility challenges of any kind as they arise.

Schedule

Applications for Mentors and Mentees close: Mon 4-May 2020 11:59pm

Mentees notified by: Mon 18-May 2020

Mentors notified by: Tue 19-May 2020

Stage 1: Sat 23-May to Fri 10-Jul 2020

Stage 2: Sat 18-Jul to Fri 18-Sep 2020

Stage 3: TBC

 

If you are interested in acting as a Mentor, please fill in the Mentor Application Form.

If you would like to participate as a Mentee, please fill in the Mentee Application Form.