Why you should become a Black Valley mentee

Applications for the Black Valley's July cohort have officially reopened!


Let's address the application process to start with:

So back in December 2020, I saw in the Black Girls in Tech whatsapp group chat that Black Valley had reopened applications for their January cohort, and applied straight away. I was super excited because I needed a mentor to discuss the many technical challenges I was having.

At the time, I had recently found out that I had been accepted onto Sky's Get into Tech scheme which was starting in late January so it seemed like perfect timing.

And then I got this email...

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OUCH!

Nonetheless, I kept up with their socials and saw how the mentees in the January cohort were thriving! In particular I was speaking to Javie, who was delving into UX Design and Web Development and documenting her 100 Days of coding challenge on Twitter. She spoke so highly of what her mentor was teaching her, plus she was working on completing a app design which you can read more about here.

In February 2021, as soon as I saw the Black Valley applications opened, I applied straight away and sent it over to my friends who I thought would also benefit from it. This time I made more to make it explicitly clear when answering their questions, especially the reason why I'd benefit from having a mentor.

Around a week later, I get an email that I've been invited to a 15 minute initial interview stage with Gavin Kimpson. He was absolutely great, we spoke about why I wanted to join Black Valley, what I was working on and he spoke more about what the 8 week entailed. He was so easy to speak to and I promise it wasn't an intimidating as an "initial interview" sounds.

Then a few days later, a day before my birthday, I get the email...

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WOOP WOOP!! 🎉

Ok, so enough about the application process. What are the benefits of joining the Black Valley community:

  • You have a great community of such inspiring and ambitious mentees & mentors in the cohort. Firstly, you're added to the Black Valley slack channel, where you're able to connect with everyone. This is a great way to build your network and speak to linked-minded people with similar goals which could be anything from looking to break into tech, learning a specific programming language or needing some interview prep. Plus, there are several different channels such as the jobboard channel where people post jobs, and a motivating good news channel.
  • You have access to exclusive Black Valley events. The first event was compulsory which was the Black Valley mentee training. Leke introduced Black Valley, Errol Lawson gave such a motivational talk about how to make the most out of BV and we were told who our mentors were. Throughout the 8 weeks, a lot of events were held including: BV Networking meeting, Early Careers event, Careers & CV's & Networking workshop, Identifying & Managing Key Stakeholders & Sponsors, BV Design Challenge with Jeremy Mills, and of course the Black Valley graduation Event!
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The great thing about the events was that Leke put us in breakout rooms so we could connect with other people on the cohort. This was so great because it genuinely gave that community feel, which can be challenging when we are all remote.

  • You have a hands-on mentor to work on projects with! I had the most incredible mentor Joe Reed (who is also the master of CSS) who helped me so much on a website that I was working on at the time. We worked on projects together, and also had chats about working in teams, job application processes and so much more! Leke also sends over emails each week detailing what we can speak about to our mentors - for example, the theme for Week 6 was to to keep practising what we had learnt so far.
  • It can help you to land a role! In the slack channel goodnews, people announced how helpful BV was in helping them to land a role. The most recent (and I'll keep it anonymous) post is this:

"Hey fam! I’m pleased to share that I accepted a job offer earlier this month in Tech Consulting in a role with everything I wanted! ✨ I want to thank {their mentor} for working tirelessly with me as I went through rounds of interviews and helping me put my best foot forward. And thank you to @Leke for this awesome programme and thank you to everyone who is part of this community. The energy from everyone really helped me stay motivated and I’m very grateful to have been part of the April cohort ❤️💥
Wishing everyone a great week ahead and happy 1 year of Black Valley - here’s to floods of good news! 🚀"


So what are you waiting for? The applications have reopened for the July cohort and closes 1st of July, sign up here!

Amber Shand

Black Valley Alumni & Junior Software Engineer

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