Four aspiring editors to join Penguin Random House following #TheScheme16
June Eric-Udorie, an A Level Student, writer and feminist campaigner from London, and one of #TheScheme16's final four.
Four aspiring editors have earned their place on Penguin Random House UK’s entry-level programme, The Scheme, designed to find the most creative, thoughtful and exciting talent, without reference to education, qualifications or work experience.
Aimée Longos (a forensic psychologist and family therapist from Manchester), Rosanna Forte (an English teacher, translator and writer from Wales), Alex Harrison (a grad student and writer working for a Hammersmith tech company) and June Eric-Udorie (an A Level Student, writer and feminist campaigner from London) were selected from more than 1,300 applicants to join Penguin Random House for a 13-month fully paid traineeship in September, spending six months each in two of its publishing divisions.
#TheScheme16 was designed to assess the core strengths needed to succeed as an editor, with a theme of story-telling running through every task and challenge. These required no prior knowledge of publishing, and at no stage were candidates asked for their CVs or qualifications.
In a HireVue interview, 50 candidates pitched their idea for ‘the Next Big Thing’, explaining what made it distinctive and exciting, and how they would bring it to life. Later, during two assessment days at Penguin Random House’s offices, 18 candidates were tasked with creating a concept for the cover of The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr, and convincing a team to acquire Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson in a mock Acquisitions meeting.
Aimée Longos said of her experience: “The final assessment was amazing. I felt like I’d won a Golden Ticket to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, except with amazing books instead of sweets! Although the Friday was gruelling, everyone was so supportive and there was just the right level of assessment to test our various skills, creativity and resilience.”
Rosanna Forte added: “The application process was completely transparent, which is so refreshing in an industry which can seem like something of a closed door. And the tasks were so much fun - creative and challenging in the best possible way. I felt I was really being pushed to develop my ideas concretely and to think in all sorts of new directions. I’m so glad I saw that Facebook advert!”
Alex Harrison commented: “After first seeing the opportunity on Twitter, The Scheme was easily the most rigorous and demanding job assessment I've ever experienced, but it was tremendous fun at the same time. I think everyone felt like they'd been assessed more fairly and thoroughly than ever before.”
June Eric-Udorie said: “If I’m honest, I was always worried because of my age, but I was so supported by the dream team that is Penguin Random House’s HR department. They were also incredibly accommodating of my disability and I never once felt isolated. It felt more than a recruitment process - it felt more like a journey where I really found my interests and challenged myself.”
Neil Morrison, Group HR Director, Penguin Random House UK, said: “The idea of The Scheme is to break down barriers to publishing to give talented people with real potential the opportunity to work somewhere they perhaps wouldn’t have considered before. We used social media sites like Snapchat to reach new audiences and it has been very encouraging to see a shift towards genuine diversity of candidates this year.
“We were blown away by the quality of all the applicants, but Rosanna, Aimée, Alex and June excelled and showed they have the talent and passion needed to bring stories to life. I’m delighted they’ll have the opportunity to work alongside our editorial teams to publish books that will appeal to all kinds of readers.”
On 27th July Penguin Random House is running #JobHack, a day of creative workshops for job-seekers in Birmingham, as part of its efforts to reach audiences beyond London and break down barriers to entering publishing. Attendees will have the chance to gain experience of marketing, editing and many other publishing roles, as well as the opportunity to network and learn new employability skills.
#TheScheme16 | www.the-scheme.co.uk
Notes to editors:
- The four successful candidates will receive a salary of £23,000, 25 days’ holiday and flexible benefits. They will work closely with a manager and a mentor in a role similar to that of an editorial assistant and will be fully supported with a tailored personal development programme.
- For more information, contact Hannah Glenny, Senior Communications Manager, on firstname.lastname@example.org // 0207 840 8827 // 07769 617 881
Alex Harrison, a grad student and writer working for a Hammersmith tech company, won a place on Penguin Random House UK's The Scheme.
Rosanna Forte, an English teacher, translator and writer from Wales, will join Penguin Random House in September.
Aimée Longos, a forensic psychologist and family therapist from Manchester, earned one of four places on The Scheme.