Widening access with apprenticeships

London Book Fair

Organiser: Publishers Association - rsvp@publishers.org.uk

Venue: Online , Virtual

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The Publishing Assistant Apprenticeship was the first designed specifically for the publishing industry, with the first ever cohort recently completing their apprenticeships. In this event, an apprentice, their line manager and training provider LDN Apprenticeships will reflect on what they’ve learnt and their experience during the apprenticeship so far.

This seminar is designed for those curious about hiring an apprentice or finding out more, as well as anyone more generally interested in widening access routes to the publishing industry.

The seminar is organised by the Publishers Association and sponsored by Publishers’ Licensing Services.


Marcus Simmons, Sales Director and Publishing Lead at LDN Apprenticeships

Marcus has worked in Higher Education, Apprenticeships and Digital Publishing for the last 20 years. He spearheaded the launch of the first ever Publishing Assistant apprenticeship and runs the team at LDN that recruit clients and apprentices onto the programme. Marcus has worked for The Independent, Telegraph and UCAS, as well as a number of smaller tech based digital publishing companies. Currently he is focused on findings ways to increase diversity in the publishing sector, through traineeships and apprenticeships.

Yazmeen Akhtar, Sales Executive at HarperCollins

Yazmeen began her career as a Publishing Apprentice at HarperCollins and worked her way up to a Sales Assistant. She has recently been promoted to Sales Executive. Having nurtured a love for books through her English Literature degree, she was very keen to get into publishing. Yazmeen’s main goal and ambition is to raise equality of access to books, diversify representation in books and to make publishing an inclusive space for all employees. She has already seen great efforts and strides being taken to increase diversity and inclusion by publishers and hopes she can contribute to the effort.

Jay Cochrane, Head of Sales at HarperCollins

Jay has over 20 years’ experience in the industry across both retail and publishing. Currently Head of Sales – Adult Sales development at HarperCollins, where he has worked for 10 years in various roles across the business. Jay started his journey in the industry as a bookseller and retail buyer with Books Etc/Borders chain in 1998. After spending 8 years in retail, he then took his first publishing role at Canongate in 2006 as UK Sales Manager, based in Edinburgh. He has subsequently worked at Random House and Paramount Studios Home Entertainment in Key Account Management roles, primarily focused on working with Mass Market and Grocery retailers. Jay’s sales portfolio has included almost all key book retailers in the UK, covering both traditional and non-traditional markets. His passion very much leans towards training, helping to coach a new generation of publishing sales professionals.