POV was founded and sponsored by leaders from the media industry who believe that working in the industry should not be a privilege exclusive to those who have the means, resources and networks to break in. Since 2007, our mission has been to help address the entry barriers faced by disadvantaged youth, by empowering them with work- relevant skills and by opening doors that lead to their engagement in our industry.
Originally registered as a charity in 2007 as Presenting Our Vision (POV), the organization began as a filmmaking program for youth. Ten to twelve participants were first trained in film production and then given the opportunity to create a short film on their own, all while meeting industry mentors and receiving soft-skills training to assist in both personal and professional development. POV continued to successfully operate along this strategy for seven years.
In 2014, POV’s leadership decided it was time to expand its mandate and by extension of programming. There were several factors, both external and internal, that contributed to this expansion. On a global scale, the ever-shifting technological, cultural, and social trends within the media industry had begun to disrupt the way people were creating, packaging, and consuming media. With the switch from traditional media verticals to “content,” as well as the democratization of media tools via online platforms, it was clear that POV needed to adapt its approach according to this evolving media industry. Not only were these massive industry changes quickly dissolving the traditional associations linked to a career in “filmmaking,” but they were likewise presenting exciting, new entry points and opportunities for talented and ambitious media-savvy youth. Similarly, these changes presented new challenges for the community we serve as well.
Internally, there were several motivating factors that initiated our expansion. POV had the benefit of observing many cohorts of participants go through its filmmaking program. Two noteworthy realizations emerged from those cohorts that shaped the charity immensely.
The first was that if we wanted to create lasting and sustainable change in the lives of the creative youth we serve, we needed to broaden our training from film and media training to include a stronger emphasis on career mentorship and job preparedness as well. To fully service our mission of empowering youth to work in the media industry, we needed to address the gap in skills, knowledge, network connections, and opportunities that would realistically allow them to begin and thrive in a career in film, TV or advertising.
The second realization that led to POV’s expansion was the recognition of just how valuable soft skills training is for diverse youth entering the workforce, particularly in the creative industries. The realized need for building these skills led to the eventual addition of leadership development and cultural competency training into our programming. This innovative approach that focused personal growth and career development has been an incredible and unique asset to our program participants.
Since expanding our mandate in 2014, POV has been on a journey of continued growth and change. Our once 12-week filmmaking program has become a 6-month, cross-industry Media Training Program. This program incorporates awareness-based leadership and soft skills development. Equally significant, we have expanded our programming beyond the Media Training Program itself. Now, we offer the Production assistant training program, the En/Vision program, bursaries and opportunities for further professional development, work placement, internship placement, and career mentorship. Such expansions towards career-oriented goals will ultimately lead our alumni to more opportunities to fund, produce, and create content.
We have been also steadily working to strengthen our board and staff to create an infrastructure that prioritizes the overall growth of POV while continuing to support and serve our creative community. This includes structuring board operations, standardizing processes, increasing revenue, expanding brand awareness, and developing more strategic partnerships. It is in this context of profound change and growth that POV approaches the next stage of its growth with renewed vigor and vision. We have never been more excited and better prepared to focus on a clear vision, to set measurable goals, and most importantly, to impact the lives of creative young people and the industries who will benefit immensely from their stories and talent.