Hachette UK has unveiled its 2021 traineeship programme, partnering for the first time with literary agency Curtis Brown and bookseller Waterstones. It will open for applications later in February, with 10 trainees joining Hachette UK in May for the year-long programme.
Hachette UK reviewed and refreshed its existing traineeship programme and added a number of new elements for 2021. As opposed to rotating between divisions as in previous years, the trainees will now spend the year in one of the trade divisions or the education business. They will specialise in either editorial, or marketing and publicity, or rights, and they will also spend time in Hachette UK’s central departments, such as contracts and sales.
Those specialising in editorial will spend a month of their traineeship at Curtis Brown to learn how to represent authors and matchmake them with publishers. Some of the trainees will spend a month at Waterstones to learn the art of bookselling and understand consumer buying behaviour. All the trainees will also participate in a bespoke learning and development programme, with the opportunity to learn about the journey of publishing a book from pitch to production.
This will be Hachette UK’s fourth intake of trainees and it will continue to focus on making publishing more accessible to underrepresented groups, as part of the publisher’s Changing the Story programme. Intent on advancing diversity and inclusion in the business and beyond, 2021 marks the fifth year since its inception. As such, Hachette UK has said it is "actively seeking" applications from candidates from a Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background, applicants from lower socio-economic backgrounds and "particularly men" from both of these backgrounds, to help improve representation of these groups in Hachette UK’s editorial staff base. And as part of these efforts, it is partnering with Creative Access to promote the traineeships.
David Shelley, c.e.o. of Hachette UK, said: "This year, Hachette UK will mark the fifth anniversary of Changing the Story and we have a number of exciting things planned to further strengthen our commitment to inclusion. The first of these is the launch of our 2021 traineeship, which was conceived by Changing the Story patron Sharmaine Lovegrove to nurture a new generation of talent from groups that are underrepresented in publishing. The programme will be even bigger and better this year thanks to our new partnerships with Curtis Brown and Waterstones, whose involvement will give our trainees an invaluable opportunity to experience the publishing process from end to end."
Sharmaine Lovegrove, publisher of Dialogue Books and patron of Hachette UK’s Changing the Story programme, said: "Our role as publishers is to connect brilliant authors to curious readers. By having more direct contact with authors via an agent and readers via a bookshop at such an early stage of their careers, our trainees will be set up with first-hand knowledge of authors and readers as they scale the industry over time. I am so proud to work for Hachette UK and to have the opportunity to innovate and make connections enabled by our HR team and business leaders that will have a lasting, positive and inclusive impact. It was immediately clear that Curtis Brown – for their creative professionalism, range of authors and inspirational agents – were the literary agency for us to partner with and that Waterstones – as the jewel in our bookselling crown, with such a wide variety of readers across society visiting their shops – would be the ideal bookshop partner.”
Felicity Blunt, literary agent at Curtis Brown, said the agency was looking forward to opening its doors to Hachette's trainees and offering them "an in-depth experience of working directly with both authors and their work on domestic, international and multimedia platforms". She said it is "committed to making a meaningful and lasting change around inclusion within our industry", emphasising its belief "change is only possible if we join forces across the entire industry", and she commended Hachette on its "dynamic agenda", including its recent work on pay transparency.
Kate Skipper, chief operating officer of Waterstones, commented: "We are delighted to welcome 2021’s intake of Hachette UK trainees to Waterstones, as part of such an exciting and innovative programme to attract new talent to the industry. Our intention is to share the passion and enjoyment of bookselling, along with the thrill of helping a customer discover a new book or author they would never otherwise have stumbled upon. If this year’s trainees leave us understanding the power of human recommendation, whilst also experiencing the immense amount of fun that bookselling brings, we will have served them well for their future careers."
Applications for Hachette UK’s 2021 traineeship programme should be made via Creative Access' website.