Regarding footwear- there isnt really any ideal parkour shoe, but one of the most important qualities in my opinion is comfort.. all the others are debated, for instance whether to have a thin sole to have more "feel" of the ground, or a thick sole to absorb impact. You could probably also take springiness as an important factor as well as grip. What sort of price are you willing to pay? Because at the top end there are shoes costing about £200 (trail runners?). I think any sort of comfortable sports shoe with good grip would be adequate to be honest, after all, theres only so much that a shoe can add to your performance, I think its you that affects the majority of the performance.
This is coming from a beginner, but hopefully thats helpful.
And I dont know of any mentors in our area, sorry.