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Apprenticeships – worth investing in

The answer to some of the challenges facing publishing companies is ‘apprenticeship schemes’, as News UK has found out.

By James Evelegh

Apprenticeships – worth investing in

In the upcoming January / February issue of InPublishing magazine (join the free mailing list here), we have an excellent article by Mark Hudson, head of creative diversity at News UK, about News UK’s apprenticeship scheme.

According to Mark, the scheme has been a great success. It has created opportunity, brought new voices to conversations and has driven innovation.

Specifically, by bringing fresh and diverse new talent into the business, it has helped:

  1. Make the newsroom more reflective of wider society: “To stay relevant to every part of the UK, we need talent in our newsrooms representing every part of the UK,” says Mark. Working hand-in-hand with specialist diversity recruitment agencies, they have been able to expand the breadth of lived experience across the newsroom.
  2. Hit D&I targets: “This investment in apprenticeships has contributed to a significant shift in the makeup of our teams,” he says: “Female representation has risen from 38% to 43% and ethnic minority representation has risen from 9% in 2021 to 12% in 2023. We still have a way to go to reach our target of 50/50 on gender and 20% EM representation, but progress is being made.”
  3. Extend the talent pool: If media firms only recruit from a narrow section of society, they are limiting the amount of talent available to them. By opening up to people who previously might not have considered a career in the media, News UK is now able to tap into talent that was previously beyond their reach.

Ultimately, the success of any apprenticeship scheme can be judged by how many apprentices stay on.

According to Mark, “We’ve retained over 80% of our apprentices versus the national retention rate of 62%. Many of the apprentices who left were poached by other big media companies.”

Apprenticeship schemes are not a quick fix. They take time and ongoing effort to get right, but ultimately, they’re worth it. Both ethically and commercially, it’s proved to be the right thing to do.

You can catch James Evelegh’s regular column in the InPubWeekly newsletter, which you can register to receive here.