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Removing barriers into publishing with Penguin Random House mentor programme 

Posted on May 16, 2023


While Publishing Association data from 2022 reports an increase in diversity, the industry still remains tough to get into for those from underrepresented groups. Only 17% of those working in the industry are from ethnically diverse backgrounds and two-thirds (66%) are from privileged backgrounds. 


Research shows that people from underrepresented backgrounds who advance the furthest in their careers all share one characteristic – a strong network who nurture their professional development. A mentor programme  is a powerful tool to provide insight to the breadth of roles available, support with goal setting and building networks for navigating the industry.​  

In 2022, Creative Access and PRH established a commitment to set up 500 mentor programme partnerships by 2025 to support aspiring talent from under-represented groups seeking to access the industry. The mentors came from within PRH and mentees from across the Creative Access community.  

The programme aimed to break down barriers and myths, showcase the rich mix of roles and opportunities on offer and provide an opportunity for mentees to build on knowledge and expertise about the world of publishing. The mentorship is designed to help develop skills and confidence, and build new connections and touchpoints in publishing. 


To date, the programme has delivered 1,464 hours of mentoring over 60 days. 

Already the scheme has established 173 mentor matches. And its impact is far reaching:   

  1. 100% of mentee survey respondents said this mentoring programme has improved their knowledge and understanding of publishing.​ 
  1. 98% of mentee survey respondents said this mentoring programme has boosted their confidence​ 
  1. 90% of mentee survey respondents said their mentor has supported them with applying for new roles in publishing ​ 
  1. 84% of mentee survey respondents said this mentoring programme has expanded their industry contacts and networks. ​ 

 “Mentoring is a mutually beneficial relationship. The mentor gets to hear new perspectives on publishing, and both parties hopefully grow a strong career-long professional relationship and expand their networks. 

“When mentoring fresh talent, you see that publishing can seem intimidating. And while the industry has a way to go, we’re using this insight from the PRH & Creative Access partnership to inform a better experience for those looking to get into the industry.”

Claire Thomas, Director of Organisational Development & Talent, Penguin Random House