B!G Interview – Gillian Reidy
20 October 2021

B!G Interview – Gillian Reidy

Our B!G Mentor to interview this week was Gillian Reidy, designer and business owner of Penhouse Design. Gillian was a Mentor in 2021 and is very supportive of The B!G Idea and what it has to offer young people.

Why do you think creative skills are important at second level?

I think it’s a skill that just needs to be learnt as early as possible and probably recognised because it’s there but just to recognise it and draw it out of people as early as possible because they will draw on it always if they can recognise it early and know what it is.

What is Mentoring?

Mentoring, I see it as guiding people and encouraging them to think a bit differently and drawing on some of the knowledge I would have and trying to see how we can bring that out and help younger people who don’t have as much experience in an area to kind of draw them, you know, think about things a little bit differently and help them through that.

Can you take us through the process of The B!G Idea Mentoring?

So, The B!G Idea Mentoring, I suppose in terms of the process, the project was sent in to us so we had a good read of them. What I kind of tended to do was I read through each of the projects, kind of understood what they were trying to do, went away, didn’t answer it immediately, just kept thinking about what they were doing, came back to it again and then just kind of fed our thoughts I suppose or what I thought…have they thought about this, have they thought about that and just to encourage them to push it a little bit more rather than just come up with the first solution.

What has been the most important aspect of Mentoring for you?

Well firstly, it’s lovely to feel that you can be useful to younger people, that you kind of feel if any of my input is helpful that’s already a plus. The other thing was that I became aware of it when I started thinking about it that creativity itself hasn’t really been, I don’t think, acknowledged as much in schools up to now. So, it was always creative subjects, let’s say like art or music or that sort of thing was always there but calling it creativity is quite different because it can span across every subject really. So that to me I became very aware of through this.

“Calling it creativity is quite different because it can span across every subject really. ”

Gillian Reidy

What was your biggest take away from Mentoring?

I suppose how my input could be of value to students like that at that age because they are starting out and you can recognise the way they might be going so you might be pushing them in a different direction or encouraging them to think a little bit differently and it’s kind of nice to be able to do that when they are at a younger stage and you can see that.

Would you have benefitted from The B!G Idea at school?

No question! When I saw it, I just thought why has this not been done before. I just think it’s the most amazing idea and that age group, oh my God, they’re an amazing age group so anything you can do to really foster new skills and especially creativity is, oh it’s just brilliant. I think it’s amazing.

Did you enjoy the Mentoring process and did you feel supported through it?

Yeah I did, I sort of feel I could have done more. It felt very straightforward and very simple to do and very much so, it was very straightforward, really enjoyable thing to do.

Would you recommend Mentoring to other people?

Totally yeah, you don’t really realise when you’ve been working in our area as long as we are and we are kind of focused on our jobs and doing all that stuff, you kind of forget every day we are learning new skills so we don’t realise how much stuff we do for granted that maybe younger people don’t think about. So it’s very easy when, it’s always lovely when someone says oh I never thought of that so it’s nice to give them that sort of vibe. 

Interested in Mentoring in 2022?

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