Four aspiring marketers aged 18-27 have earned a place on Penguin Random House UK's new entry-level programme The Scheme, a programme launched this year and aiming to recruit people who may not previously have considered a career in publishing. The Scheme considers applicants on potential rather than on qualifications or background.
Candice Brown-Brathwaite, Kate Sinclair, Maddie Hanson and Olivia Thomas [see picture below] beat competition from almost 800 applicants to gain a 13-month paid marketing programme at PRH, starting in September. Each of the four candidates will complete six-month placements in two PRH companies.
A final two-day assessment saw 19 shortlisted candidates complete four different challenges: presenting a marketing campaign for Keri Smith’s Wreck this Journal (Penguin); pitching to a fictitious author and agent to secure the author’s second book; designing a book event to work for Latitude Festival; and a one-hour interview. Each task was designed to test qualities considered key to a career in marketing with Penguin Random House UK, including curiosity, ambition, being persuasive and adaptable, and being digitally minded and social media savvy.
PRH recruited via Tumblr and didn’t require candidates to have a degree or experience in publishing, or to submit a CV.
HR director Neil Morrison said: "Having a diverse and inclusive organisation is critical to our future success. By trying something different in The Scheme we’ve been able to recruit four fresh, creative voices with new skills from a wide and truly brilliant talent pool and remove some of those perceived barriers to working in publishing. Candice, Kate, Maddie and Olivia have shown passion, curiosity and ambition that will add real value to our publishing divisions and our authors.”
Brown-Brathwaite, described as a mum, cake business owner and vlogger, said: "I applied to The Scheme because it presented itself as an opportunity which made my extra-curricular activities count for something”. Thomas, currently working in software sales, said: "I adore literature and the 'world of the word' but didn’t know how to carve out a career within it. The Scheme at Penguin Random House was the answer”.
Sixth-form student Hanson said: "I especially liked the selection days as all the tasks set gave me the opportunity to express my creativity. I felt like it didn’t matter so much about experience, but more about potential which was really important for me”. Sinclair, a recent history graduate, said: "I got the sense that whoever was behind it [The Scheme] wanted to know me as a person, not just an aggregation of work experiences."
Pictured are all 19 shortlisted candidates, including winners Hanson and Sinclair (middle row, centre left and right), Thomas (bottom row, far left) and Brown-Brathwaite (bottom row, centre right).