Why I applied for The Scheme
I applied for The Scheme because I wanted to gain an insight into book publishing. I'd heard publishing was really competitive and I thought The Scheme sounded like a really great way to get some fantastic training and champion diversity in the publishing industry. This year was actually my second time applying and it was definitely worth trying again as I'm happy to say that it was second time lucky!
What I got from The Scheme
The Scheme taught me all about the publishing industry, from administrative processes, to how an idea can become a book, to the importance of author care. We received great training, from proofreading to pitching skills to copywriting, and these kinds of skills are extremely transferable and can help you far beyond The Scheme. For me, The Scheme was an entirely unique experience that challenged me and made me think outside the box. I got to work with some really cool authors and generate new ideas (and even project manage some books). The Scheme equipped me with all the skills necessary to apply for and succeed in job interviews and taught me to be confident and calm under pressure.
Most importantly, you get to meet your fellow Scheme cohort and The Scheme bond is such a special and powerful support network during the traineeship and beyond.
What surprised me
I think the biggest surprise of The Scheme was learning just how many people it takes to create a book, as well as the time, money and effort that goes into ensuring the best product is published. Seeing how ideas, business growth and profit feed into the creative process is fascinating and working with teams across the company, such as Sales and Production, really provides a rounded overview of the lifecycle of a book. Also, the sheer scale of books that Penguin Random House work on really surprised me. I always knew that they had produced a gazillion books but being there, and accumulating more books than I have space to know what to do with, really has to be seen to be believed.
The other thing that surprised me is that people are genuinely interested in hearing your thoughts. Don't think just because you're an entry level member of staff that your thoughts don't count. People at all levels genuinely want to hear what you have to say and, who knows, if you say something out loud it may just become a book!
What I'm doing now
I recently started as a Programmes Assistant at the US-UK Fulbright Commission to help students from low to mid-socioeconomic backgrounds gain insight into studying across the pond. While I decided not to stay in publishing for now, The Scheme was a great springboard and once you've had experience in publishing, the door is always open to come back!
Why should you apply
Amazing people. World famous company. Great new skills. Books, books and more books!
6 months isn't forever and if The Scheme reveals that publishing is your dream career, that's amazing, but if you're a bit like me and still unsure about what you want your career to be after it ends, you'll still be equipped with fantastic experience that will be highly valued by any employer.
My top tip
Don't be afraid to share your ideas and express yourself. And ask lots of questions!
Your ideas are the greatest asset you have. They're what makes you you. Publishers are always looking at ways to bring in new ideas and different perspectives and you are ideally placed to feed into new thoughts and great publishing. People really do want to hear your thoughts. Whether it's at application stage or when you're on The Scheme, really think about the stories you'd like to see on your bookshelf.
Finally, ask lots of questions and make as many connections as you can. While on The Scheme, you can pretty much grab a coffee with anyone and this is a great opportunity to make connections all over the company and to learn more about different teams and processes.
Best of luck with your application and remember, if at first you don't succeed, try and try again. You never know where it may lead.