Publishers back UCL summer school aimed at increasing diversity

Publishers back UCL summer school aimed at increasing diversity

University College London is running a new, vocational course this summer, supported by Hachette UK, Penguin Random House and the Publishers Association, aimed at increasing employee diversity in the publishing industry.

The "Get into Book Publishing" summer school, a four-day course due to start in August, has no bar to entry other than the criterion delegates must be over 18.

Costs are being kept "deliberately low", according to course organisers at Bluebird Consulting, which is charging an "accessible" £200 for the course held at UCL. This in order to attract a wide audience, it says, whether that is people going back to work, looking for a change of careers, or school and university leavers. 

The course comprises 17 hours formal tuition, covering the various roles in the book publishing industry, from editorial and design to production, rights, marketing and sales for a "comprehensive and insightful" overview of publishing. Delegates will be given a project that they will present to members of the industry. It also offers the opportunity to meet and talk with experts from across the trade at an informal drinks reception.

In partnership with the Stephen Lawrence charitable trust, Hachette will be funding five places on the ‘Get into Book Publishing’ summer school, six months of one-to-one mentoring with an industry expert from Hachette UK and entry into an evening at Hachette UK called "Starting the Story" where the industry will be telling their stories about how they got into publishing. 

Kate Craigie, editor at John Murray Press and part of Hachette UK’s Changing the Story Diversity and Inclusion Group, commented: "It’s a brilliant programme run by an excellent team of industry experts that will offer a comprehensive introduction to the industry for anyone who thinks that a publishing career might be for them."

PRH is meanwhile sponsoring two places, while the PA is endorsing the initiative and helping with marketing. There are up to 50 spots available on the course.

The Society of Young Publishers​ is providing a free one-year membership with the SYP to every student enrolled on the course, regardless of whether the place is sponsored or not. 

Speakers so far confirmed include Jason Bartholomew, rights director for Hodder & Stoughton, John Murray Press, Quercus Books and Headline; Alison David, customer insight director at Egmont; Hazel Kenyon, book research director at Nielsen, and, the course's creator, Heather O’Connell at Bluebird Consulting who has worked in publishing for more than 20 years including in denior management at Penguin and HarperCollins.

O'Connell said: “We all want to encourage diversity in our industry – we know that the lack of diversity is a major issue for publishing. This course aims to help redress that balance by offering good value, comprehensive, expert training for everyone.”