From The Bookseller:
Penguin Random House UK will now pay its work experience participants the National Living Wage in a bid to make the publishing industry more accessible and diverse. The initiative will make it the first publishing house in the UK to offer fully paid work experience placements, the company has claimed.
Every year, 450 work experience placements will be offered at PRH UK to give people a taste of what it’s like to work for the trade publisher as part of a two-week structured learning programme. The new pledge means that all participants will now receive a salary of £262.50 per week. Previously they would have received only travel and food expenses.
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Unpaid internships and work experience placements have been a hot topic in the publishing industry for years, with numerous people calling for them to be abolished.
Internships at the publishing house are already fully paid. The difference between work experience and internships, as PRH defines it, is that the latter offers interns “the opportunity to immerse themselves in the company for a longer period of time and deliver a specific work project”. As such, interns undergo an application and interview process, similar to applying for a job at the company. Work experience candidates, by contrast, are “randomly selected”, without any pre-requisite skills or experience necessary, and are referred to as “students” in so much as they are there to learn rather than to work.
As part of the “random selection” process, all personal referrals for work experience were banned last year when it “professionalised” the programme, which also intended to ensure selection was fairer and more transparent. As the result of the changes, PRH says its work experience applicant pool now reflects the ethnic diversity both of London and the UK, reaching and appealing to more young people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities, while two thirds of its applicants have grown up outside of London or the South East.
Link to the rest at The Bookseller
Now if they would pay a National Living Wage to their authors.