Kidscreen announced the launch of its Next Wave Mentoring Program, a three-month initiative designed to connect post-secondary animation students preparing to graduate with experienced mentors who can help guide their entry into the kids entertainment industry. A select group of third- and fourth-year students from animation programs will be paired up with industry mentors based on the type of work each student is interested in focusing on after graduating. Each matched pair will have three video calls over the next six weeks to discuss entry-level career planning, identify and develop leads for employment opportunities, and review the student’s portfolio of work. A second six-week phase of mentoring with another group of students and mentors is planned to begin 20 July and run until the end of August. “With internships, festivals and student-inclusive events like Annecy cancelled or running in a drastically different way this year because of covid-19, graduating students are going to have a harder time getting started in the workforce right now,” said Kidscreen VP and publisher Jocelyn Christie. “We are hoping this program will fill that gap and keep our industry well supplied with fresh new talent, and we could not be more grateful to our mentors for generously sharing their time and wisdom to help us meet that goal.” Schools participating in phase one are: California Institute of Arts (US), Sheridan College (Canada), Gobélins—L’École de L’Image (France), Ballyfermot College and the Institute of Art, Design and Technology (Ireland) and The Animation Workshop (Denmark). And phase two will include students from NYU Tisch School of Arts (US), Centennial College (Canada), Griffith University and Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (Australia) and Image Campus (Argentina). Meanwhile, students can now easily get their college essays online. Here’s where to buy. Next Wave mentors for phase one include HBO Max SVP of original animation Billy Wee; Nickelodeon SVP of preschool Eryk Casemiro; Disney EMEA VP of kids programming for Europe & Africa/UK & Ireland David Levine; Netflix manager of original animation, international Janine Weigold; Apple head of creative development, children Tara Sorensen; WildBrain EVP of content and current series Stephanie Betts; Mattel SVP & executive producer of content development and production Chris Keenan; Pixar former story lead Alex Woo; and Sixteen South creative director Colin Williams.