Penguin Random House UK launches The Scheme to find the editors of tomorrow and help make the frontline of publishing more inclusive

the scheme

14th March 2016 - A programme to reach and recruit future book editors from a wide range of backgrounds based on their potential is launching today in an effort to make the frontline of the publishing industry more inclusive.

The Scheme, Penguin Random House UK’s entry-level recruitment programme, which is open to all regardless of experience or qualifications, is opening today with a specific focus on finding the book editors of the future. The publisher is working with secondary schools and partner networks including the Big Choice Group, and recruiting via social media site Snapchat to reach talented people who may never have considered a career in publishing.

Four aspiring editors will earn a 13-month fully-paid traineeship from September, including two six-month placements within Penguin Random House UK’s prestigious publishing divisions. They will work with the editorial teams that acquire break-through books like Paula Hawkins’ The Girl On The Train; spot emerging talent such as YouTubers Dan and Phil; unearth lost treasures including Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Kitty In Boots, and edit long-established authors from James Patterson to Sophie Kinsella. 

A theme of story-telling will underpin every stage of The Scheme’s assessment process and all of Penguin Random House UK’s outreach across platforms SnapChat, Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook, with the overarching campaign message, ‘Can you bring a story to life?’ In the application stage, candidates will not be asked for CVs or qualifications, but simply to respond to four questions that are designed to assess six core strengths needed to succeed as an editor.

This is the second time Penguin Random House has run The Scheme, having launched it to attract the marketers of tomorrow in 2015. Last year, four very different, very talented candidates went onto join the company: a home-based cake business owner, a sixth form student, a software salesperson and a history graduate. 

Neil Morrison, Group HR Director, Penguin Random House UK, said: “The Scheme is about finding potential in people, and we know that comes in many forms. We learnt so much last year, namely that you don’t need to have a degree or background in book publishing to know what makes a great story. The value of The Scheme 2016 is in teaching the editors of tomorrow how to cut through and capture people’s attention with their story. 

“By recruiting on strengths and potential alone, we as publishers will benefit from the different perspectives and experiences of talented people from a wider range of backgrounds – at the earliest stage of acquiring books. Coupled with the experience and intuition of our existing editors, I believe this will influence how creatively and successfully we publish books that appeal to all kinds of readers.

“We want to drive positive change both in our publishing teams and the wider industry in a meaningful and long-lasting way.”

Successful candidates will work closely with a manager and a mentor over 13-months and will be fully supported with a tailored personal development programme.

Candice Brown-Brathwaite, who won a 13-month placement within Penguin Random House UK’s marketing teams through The Scheme last year, commented: “The Scheme experience lit a fire within me for something I didn’t even know that I could achieve. How awesome is that? I chose not to go to university and to get that ‘worldly degree’ and it seems I got a first! The Scheme allowed me to show and use the skills that I had taught myself.”

Applicants can apply to The Scheme here until 8th April. During the second assessment stage, candidates will be asked to prepare a creative brief and complete a video interview to demonstrate their creative story-telling and commercial skills, and stage three will involve a two-day selection event at Penguin Random House UK’s London offices.

The Scheme is one of many initiatives Penguin Random House UK has introduced to make publishing more inclusive by 2020. This year, the publisher removed the requirement for a degree from all new jobs to open its doors to a wider talent pool; recruited a dedicated HR specialist to reform its work experience offering so that all candidates have an equal opportunity to apply; and announced a national outreach programme targeting job-seekers and aspiring writers and illustrators from a wide range of backgrounds in Birmingham, Manchester and London - offering mentoring opportunities, practical workshops, and the chance to make direct personal connections.

#TheScheme16 | | Snapchat: PRHCareersUK

Notes to editors:

  • Anyone can apply to The Scheme, whether they are leaving school, college or university, or already working. There is no requirement for a university degree.
  • Applicants must have finished full-time compulsory education and be available to start work on 12th September 2016. They must have the right to work in the UK.
  • Successful candidates will receive a salary of £23,000, 25 days’ holiday and flexible benefits.
  • The level of work will be similar to an editorial assistant role.  


Hannah Glenny

Senior Communications Manager 
Penguin Random House UK

P: +44 (0)207 840 8827

M: +44 (0)7769 617 881

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