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Hachette UK reimagines work experience with Springpod

Hachette UK is partnering with Springpod to offer a new, fully virtual course called ‘The Business of Publishing’ for up to a thousand students aged 15 to 18 during February’s half-term. This new type of work experience is designed to make publishing more accessible to more young people around the country and will feature self-directed learning modules, live events and coursework based on a business challenge. The application portal is now open for the 2022 programme and can be found here.

Hachette UK is specifically targeting secondary school or sixth form colleges near its new national offices in Edinburgh, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and Bristol, schools with a high proportion of students from lower socio-economic groups, and schools with a higher proportion of students from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, as these groups are currently under-represented in the publisher’s workforce.

Hachette UK wanted to find a way to deliver work experience that was accessible to all and looked to an online approach to increase diversity and inclusion, and overcome any barriers that traditional work experience presents, such as inflexibility due to school or employer timings, geography, mobility or financial constraints. It found the solution in Springpod, a careers platform where young people aged 13 to 24 can take control of their future by experiencing the world of work and university before applying. Springpod is committed to ensuring that every student has access to reliable, practical and relevant careers information at their fingertips.

The programme with Hachette UK involves 20 hours of activity, which can be completed over two weeks, meaning students can fit it around their schedule at school or college. Once completed, students earn a certificate, which can be uploaded to their LinkedIn and referenced in their CV and personal statement.

Rowzat Burton, Head of Talent and Development at Hachette UK, said: “We believe that diversity is the key to the creativity and the culture that will make us a better publisher and one that’s more representative of the readers we serve. Building a more diverse workforce means attracting talented people from a wide spectrum of backgrounds and that journey begins with raising awareness among young people about the many and varied roles within publishing and showing them what skills are needed to build a career in our industry.

“The events of 2020 and 2021 have profoundly affected the education experience of 15 to 18-year-olds and they need our support more than ever. The lockdowns stopped them from having the opportunities – such as work experience and face-to-face mentoring – to increase their skills, confidence and employability that they would typically add to their CV to get jobs or put on their application forms for university. Working with Springpod enables us to reach a thousand of these young people, offer them an insight into how publishing works, and help them to understand how to break into our industry as they start to consider their future careers.”

Sam Hyams, Managing Director of Springpod, said: “At Springpod, we know that the publishing industry can seem impenetrable and starting a career is a daunting task for young people – and even more so after the pandemic. We believe that everyone should get the opportunities they need to succeed. That’s why we’re so excited to partner with Hachette UK, which is on a mission to ‘change the story’ and make an impactful, meaningful and sustainable change in all areas of diversity and inclusion. Hachette UK’s mission goes hand-in-hand with Springpod’s: to bridge the gap between education and employment in order to up-skill the next generation of diverse early talent.”

The partnership with Springpod is one of the commitments that Hachette UK is making to improve representation as it marks the fifth anniversary of its ‘Changing the Story’ diversity and inclusion programme. The publisher has released the results of its 2021 staff and author censuses in the ‘Changing the Story: People and Publishing Transparency Report’, which provides a detailed snapshot of representation today, reflects on what has been achieved so far, and reveals some of the new initiatives that will help to address areas of under-representation and shape the next five years of ‘Changing the Story’, including the partnership with Springpod.