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2017 leadership scheme from Alex Wheatle publishers Hachette

ON DISPLAY: Look out for Hachette at a literary leadership event near you

AFFECTIONATELY KNOWN as the 'Brixton Bard', winner of the 2016 Guardian children's fiction prize Alex Wheatle MBE is published by Hachette; who are also responsible for bringing books from Christian inspirational speaker Joyce Meyer and international best-seller James Patterson to market.

Hachette have recognised a need for more diversity and greater black and minority ethnic (BAME) representation within the publishing industry:

"We are really committed to increasing diversity and inclusion with Hachette and the wider publishing industry..."

To this end, they have created a Diverse Leaders Future Mentoring Scheme to boost the representativeness of senior management within the company.

As well as the scheme, Hachette UK regularly host events designed to showcase the different roles available in publishing for those aspiring to build a career within the industry or to sharpen their existing skills and knowledge; whether they are writers, book designers or magazine marketeers. The events are interactive, with a good balance between expert speakers sharing their tips and group activities such as preparing to pitch an imaginary book to publishing professionals.

The scheme is one of four new initiatives being launched in Hachette's Changing the Story programme, which aims to make it "the publisher and employer of choice for all people", regardless of age, disability, race, gender, sexuality or socio-economic background.

Places on the scheme will be limited and the selection process will be "rigorous", concentrating on diversity and potential. Each successful candidate will be paired with a Hachette UK Board member who will have received professional mentoring training to ensure that this "intense" programme of one-to-one mentoring is "fruitful and rewarding" for mentors and mentees alike.

Yassine Belkacemi, publicity manager at John Murray (part of the Hachette Group), said.

"We believe that this is the first publishing industry programme of its kind involving main board members, and the scheme has the potential to be a significant programme for change not just at Hachette, but across the whole of publishing.”

In 2017, Hachette will launch its BAME internship scheme offering paid, 12-month placements for under-represented black, Asian and other non-white minority ethnic backgrounds. These internships are likely to consist of two intensive six-month periods to be spent with two different Hachette UK divisions, equipping interns with a wide variety of skills that they would put to use should they secure a permanent role at the end of their 12 months.

Another element of the scheme, Diverse Voices in Publishing, will be a Hachette-hosted BAME event that will take place on March 23, 2017.

Sara Adams, editorial assistant at Headline (a Hachette Group brand), said:

“Hachette will host its inaugural Diverse Voices in Publishing event in March 2017 to discuss BAME representation in publishing. We will create connections between readers, writers and publishing teams to facilitate a frank and honest discussion about promoting a wider range of publishing opportunities for BAME authors.

"The evening, which will be led by a panel of writers, publishers and agents, will be open to Hachette staff, as well as agents, booksellers, readers and writers. Further details, including how to book a place, will be released at the beginning of 2017.”

Other initiatives being launched at Hachette are a paid work experience scheme, to take place in spring/summer 2017, which will involve taking on up to 15 people on eight-week long internships within the publishing divisions. All interns will be paid London Living Wage rates.

A further initative will be The Outreach Programme which will see the company work with students of "all ages from all walks of life" with the aim of increasing literacy levels, reaching out to readers who are under-represented in publishing and encouraging diversity throughout the industry.

David Shelley, leader of the Changing the Story working group at Hachette, says about the initiatives:

"We are passionately committed to our aim to be the publisher and employer of choice for all people, and we want to do as much as we can, as quickly as we can, to achieve this and to create a more diverse business."

For more information on the scheme, contact Hachette.

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