Application Advice

Thank you to everyone who submitted an application for The Scheme this year.

If you were not invited to move ahead to the next stage of the process, please don’t be too disheartened. We were astounded to receive over 1,000 applications, and were blown away by the amount of effort and creativity that we saw in all of them. With only 18 traineeships available, there were many answers that impressed us and showed real potential for a career in publishing, but we couldn’t move ahead with all of them.

This feedback will tell you a bit more about what it was that made a good answer great for each of the questions asked, and some general tips for the applications as a whole.

Overall tips 

  • Read the question fully. The questions laid out the elements that we were looking to see in your answer so are a helpful guide for how to structure your response to make sure you’ve covered all of the elements.


  • The question always listed the quality we were looking for which were explained on the website, so it would have been most effective to focus only on that quality within a single answer, rather than trying to cover everything in one go.


  • Use examples rather than speaking in more general terms. We saw some very thoughtful answers that focused on the skills needed, but many hadn’t actually included a specific example, which is what the questions were asking for.


  • Try to focus on just one example and use the 250 word limit to fully explain the situation and outcomes. Multiple examples or shorter responses often gave less opportunity to go in to as much depth and context that might’ve secured the highest marks.


  • We sometimes saw great examples but answers that actually would have better fitted in another question. E.g. when answering a question on making things happen, some answers spoke about examples such as deciding to build relationships in a working group and listening to everyone’s needs – this showed great communication skills so may have suited the building relationships question better.


  • Don’t forget to read through the answers before submitting for things such as typos. One of the qualities we’re looking for is good attention to detail, so this was important.


  • Answers were marked anonymously by multiple assessors and randomly distributed to remove bias. This meant that we didn’t have access to previous answers you’d submitted. This made it difficult to mark answers that referred back to a different answer you’d already submitted.
Question One

We’re looking to see how you make things happen.  

Share a time when you’ve taken the initiative and come up with an idea that you’ve then successfully implemented. What was it, how did you make it happen and how did you overcome any obstacles?


The answers for this question were really wide ranging and impressive. From setting up fundraising initiatives to making crucial improvements to systems and processes at work or school.

The trick to this answer, was to really take the time to talk through the approach you took, and break down the question step by step.

We were looking to see the idea you had and what sparked it, then how you made it happen step by step. Great answers went beyond simply reacting to a scenario but also clearly from the initial idea and what sparked it, to detailing the actions and initiative you took, as well as being clear on the result.

Great answers were able to show that they were proactive with their idea and took initiative rather than just responding to a situation. They demonstrated tenacity and took ownership to make sure that the idea came to fruition.   We were particularly impressed with the answers that showed that they anticipated needs or problems before they arose.

Finally it was important to clearly outline the obstacles that were faced and show creative problem solving skills to find practical solutions in order to keep moving ahead. They took charge, and went above and beyond to make things happen, showing tenacity and care.

It was important to address all of the elements of the question, so it was best when answers also shared the positive end result of all the hard work they’d put in to turning an idea in to a reality.

Question Two
Question Three

We really appreciate the time taken to complete these answers – the care and passion clearly came through.

We can't take everyone forward to the next stage, meaning there were plenty of high scoring answers, that unfortunately weren’t as high as some of the other answers submitted.

Please don’t be disheartened, the calibre of applications was really strong and this doesn’t mean a career in publishing isn’t for you.

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