Penguin Random House UK today (14th March) relaunched The Scheme, its entry-level recruitment programme, offering four 13-month paid traineeships from September.
The programme aims to reach and recruit future book editors from a wide range of backgrounds "regardless of experience or qualifications" and based purely on candidates' "potential".
The Scheme is part of PRH's efforts to "make the frontline of the publishing industry more inclusive". It will also work with secondary schools and partner networks including youth marketing company Big Choice Group, and recruiting via social media site Snapchat to reach "talented people who may never have considered a career in publishing".
A theme of story-telling will underpin every stage of The Scheme’s assessment process and all of PRH UK’s outreach across platforms SnapChat, Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook. The overarching campaign message will be "can you bring a story to life?"
The applications process for The Scheme disregards qualifications in favour of simply asking candidates to respond to four questions assessing "six core strengths" publishers need, including "curiosity", an ability to "make things happen" and to "stay tuned to the detail".
The four 13-month traineeships include two six-month placements within PRH UK’s publishing divisions, offering the opportunity for trainees to work with the editorial teams behind high profile acquisitions and authors, from Paula Hawkins' Girl on the Train to James Patterson. They will also work with a manager and a mentor and be fully supported with a tailored personal development programme.
This is the second time PRH has run The Scheme, after last year launching the programme to attract "the marketers of tomorrow". Its efforts resulted in PRH taking on "four very different, very talented candidates" - a home-based cake business owner, a sixth form student, a software salesperson and a history graduate. Candice Brown-Brathwaite, one of the chosen, said: "I chose not to go to university and to get that ‘worldly degree’ and it seems I got a first! The Scheme allowed me to show and use the skills that I had taught myself.”
Neil Morrison, group HR director at PRH UK, said: “The Scheme is about finding potential in people, and we know that comes in many forms. We learnt so much last year, namely that you don’t need to have a degree or background in book publishing to know what makes a great story. The value of The Scheme 2016 is in teaching the editors of tomorrow how to cut through and capture people’s attention with their story.
“By recruiting on strengths and potential alone, we as publishers will benefit from the different perspectives and experiences of talented people from a wider range of backgrounds – at the earliest stage of acquiring books. Coupled with the experience and intuition of our existing editors, I believe this will influence how creatively and successfully we publish books that appeal to all kinds of readers. We want to drive positive change both in our publishing teams and the wider industry in a meaningful and long-lasting way.”
The Scheme is open to submissions until 8th April. During the second assessment stage, candidates will be asked to prepare a creative brief and complete a video interview to demonstrate their creative story-telling and commercial skills. Stage three will involve a two-day selection event at PRH UK’s London offices.
With a view to making publishing more inclusive by 2020, as outlined by PRH's Creative Responsibility Manifesto, PRH formally removed the requirement for a degree from all new jobs in January. It has also recruited a dedicated HR specialist to reform its work experience offering, and announced a national outreach programme targeting job-seekers and aspiring writers and illustrators from a wide range of backgrounds in Birmingham, Manchester and London.