PRH launches commissioning editor traineeship Next Editors

PRH launches commissioning editor traineeship Next Editors

Penguin Random House (PRH) is launching a new positive action traineeship to offer talented people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds the opportunity to develop the skills and expertise required for a role as a commissioning editor.

The Next Editors Programme is part of the commitments outlined in the publisher's inclusivity plan to address the underrepresentation of staff from these backgrounds working at commissioning editor level. The programme will sit alongside The Scheme, PRH's positive action traineeship for entry-level candidates, which was expanded this year to include roles in publicity and sales as well as editorial.

The programme will last for 18 months and pay £32,000 p/a. It will offer opportunities in fiction, non-fiction and children’s publishing through four traineeships at Ebury, Penguin Press, Penguin Random House Children’s and Transworld. PRH said it comprises a balance of on-the-job learning with a tailored, formalised training programme which includes workshops, mentoring and coaching. The aim of the programme is to provide each of the candidates with the skills and experience to be in the best possible position to secure a commissioning editor role by the end.

Applications open on 5th November from candidates who are Black, Asian or from a minority ethnic background, with at least three years’ work experience in any industry or role. This includes those already working in the publishing industry. The application process will be looking for candidates to show they have the potential to be a commissioning editor through relevant transferrable skills, rather than demonstrating any specific knowledge or experience of that role, or of the wider industry.

PRH said it has also this year refreshed its recruitment and promotion policy to ensure all hiring and progression decisions are as inclusive as possible and to ensure it is attracting, nurturing and retaining a diverse range of talent beyond these specific positive action programmes. This includes updating its promotion policies, creating guides for career development conversations and introducing increased pay transparency by publishing pay bands.

Joel Rickett, managing director of Ebury and sponsor of the programme, said: “If we are to fulfil our mission of publishing books for everyone, then we ourselves also need to represent the rich diversity of UK society and ensure our editors are seeking out and publishing stories for all kinds of readers. Yet, at the moment we know we have a clear lack of representation of people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds at commissioning editor level.

“This tailored programme is one of the ways in which we want to address this underrepresentation and start to move the dial. Of course, positive action programmes are important to achieve change, but they are not the only way that we should be seeking to build and retain a more diverse workforce. That is why we’ve also refreshed our approach to career progression to ensure we’re supplementing these programmes with sustainable, long-term inclusive practices.”

For more information on the scheme, visit penguin.co.uk.