back to all Insights

Opening opportunities and unlocking potential

Our people share their career journeys and experiences of working in the publishing industry

three female colleagues in a meeting room at Cambridge University Press & Assessment's University Printing House building

As a world-leading academic publisher and assessment organisation, our qualifications, assessments, publications and original research spread knowledge, spark curiosity and aid understanding around the world.  

From teachers and learners to researchers and academics, we help to build confidence and enable success in more than 170 countries. And we can achieve this because we are a united, vibrant, and respectful global community of empowered people. 

In light of #WorkInPublishing week in the UK, a national campaign by the Publishers Association to inspire young people to pursue a career in publishing, we asked some of our colleagues about their own career journeys and looked at what it is like to work at Cambridge University Press & Assessment. 

Empowering people through professional development

Empowering our people amplifies our collective impact, and we support our colleagues by giving them the resources and development they need to be bold and take ownership of what they do. 

Claudia is based in our New York office and is an academic publishing coordinator. She said: “There is never a dull moment working day-to-day at the New York branch of the organization, but what I enjoy the most about working at Cambridge University Press & Assessment is the amount of compassion we have for one another, especially during such a trying year with the pandemic.” 

Before joining Cambridge University Press’ academic publishing division, Claudia had experience of working as an intern and as a publicity assistant in trade publishing. She describes the support of her team and the emphasis that was put on developing professionally as important in helping her to grow into the role. She said: “Once I started working alongside my fellow peers it quickly became apparent that my colleagues valued community and professional development above all else and that was such a welcomed change.” 

Our apprenticeship scheme is one of the ways we help our people to grow and develop, enabling colleagues to gain skills and qualifications while they work. In 2020, Cambridge Assessment was shortlisted as a Top 100 Apprenticeship Employer and, as a single organisation, we continue to focus on apprenticeships as a key part of our learning and development strategy.  

Kaya joined Cambridge University Press as an apprentice in our recruitment team almost seven years ago. She now works as an Employee Experience Specialist responsible for global onboarding and activation of our new organisational values. 

After completing her entry level apprenticeship, Kaya later went on to study for a further qualification. She said: “I was encouraged and supported in my application to study the Chartered Manager Degree Level Apprenticeship, a level 6 qualification in business and management practice. Gaining a degree had previously felt somewhat unattainable for me, and thanks to my role in publishing, I have been able to build a career with multiple prospects. Along the way I have had the opportunity to take part in a panel discussion at the London Book Fair, get involved in internal events and our colleague networks.”  

In 2021 Kaya started her position in our employee experience team and describes it as a “super exciting emergent role within our organisation and also out in the world of work”. She says: “For me, employee experience is about creating a great work environment for our people, giving our employees a voice and ensuring our culture creates a sense of belonging for everyone.” 

Gaining transferable skills  

Izabella joined Cambridge University Press almost five years ago having previously worked as a personal assistant in a completely different industry. She said: “I wasn’t sure if that was the right path for me, so I decided to try out something different.” 

Starting as an editorial administrator in our Academic books department, she moved into the journals department a year later where she is now part of the STM (scientific, technical and medical) Open Access journals team. She said: “It’s been really exciting to gain insight into the day-to-day tasks of both traditional and digital publishing. I love my role because every day is different, I get to interact with a lot of different authors, editors and reviewers and I find it really rewarding.” 

Izabella says you learn and develop so many skills in the Editorial team, which are all highly transferable and can be applied wherever you are in your career, adding: “If you’re considering a career in publishing but you aren’t sure if it’s the right path for you and the roles available, there are many career options in the publishing industry, and they all have transferable skills you can learn to make sure that you will land the right role for you.” 

Rigil is Scrum Master in our digital publishing platform development team in Manila. A scrum master is responsible for leading, coaching and managing a team through agile project management techniques. She started working at Cambridge University Press in 2014 as a junior software quality analyst. Being inspired by the first two projects she worked on cemented her decision to work in the industry. She said: “I was able to freely use my knowledge, skills and creativity in making sure that we were delivering a project with utmost quality which also helps me to continuously improve in the path I take.” 

Since joining the organisation, Rigil has had the opportunity to visit our UK headquarters twice to meet and work in-person with colleagues in Cambridge and describes it as one of her “greatest achievements”. 

Making a difference through the work we do

Our colleagues are at the heart of the good we do and, in the pursuit of our mission, we are able to make a real difference, providing vital support to our teachers, learners and researchers. 

Tharlikha is a publishing manager based in Cape Town. Her role includes managing publishing staff and contributing to publishing strategy, as well responsibility for the management and delivery of the science, technology and agriculture education publishing list for sub-Saharan Africa.  

She said: “I love the fact that, because we publish for the local curricula of the African countries we work in, with every publication that we put out into the market we are reaching the learners and teachers that are most in need of our materials. I also enjoy the challenge of bringing out good quality learning materials that are affordable and that meet the unique needs of that country.”  

Tharlikha believes that “the main thing that you need to enjoy a career in publishing is passion – for education, for reading, for making a difference and for rising above the challenges thrown at you”. She says that if you have these, you can learn the rest. 

Senior human resources manager, Abhinay, is based in New Delhi. In his work, he’s involved in talent acquisition, human resource planning, learning and development, compensation and benefits, and business partnering amongst other responsibilities. He describes himself as empowered “to do right for employees and the organisation”.  

“The interesting part is that you work with people who are passionate about making change in the education environment. It also teaches us that even a small detail has a weightage.” 

Valuing diversity, inclusion and belonging 

We serve customers and represent colleagues all over the world and equality, diversity, inclusion and belonging, in all their forms, are essential to our future success. 

Our aim is for colleagues to have equal chances to grow, learn and advance, creating an environment where everyone thrives and feels a sense of belonging.

We have well-established colleague networks celebrating and advocating for valuing diversity, inclusion and belonging. These networks have built a sense of community and the opportunity to connect globally with like-minded colleagues, whose voices and experiences help inform our strategy, policies, product development, marketing and client relationships.  

In June 2021, we appointed Serita Bonsignore as our Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Director. The position was a newly created role led by our ongoing commitment to becoming a more diverse and inclusive organisation.

Our ambitions for the organisation include a commitment to social mobility and hiring talent from a range of backgrounds. Earlier this year, we joined the UK Government’s Kickstart Scheme, which offers long-term unemployed young people aged 16-24 a six-month-long work placement. Roles advertised through the scheme can be applied for through local job centres and require a referral from the candidate's work coach.

Serita said: “We are creating great opportunities to develop a wide range of skills in a friendly, supportive environment.” 

The programme enables us to engage with diverse candidates at the early careers stage, a demographic that we want to ensure we grow across Cambridge University Press & Assessment.  

Currently, we are recruiting for several Diversity and Inclusion Assistant job placements, working alongside Serita to support our global equality, diversity, inclusion and belonging strategy.

Serita added: “No matter who you are, what you do, or where you come from, you'll feel proud to work here.”

Discover more about working in publishing 

To round off Work in Publishing Week, on Friday, 19 November we are hosting a free virtual career event demystifying publishing and sharing the realities of working in the sector. A panel of Cambridge University Press & Assessment colleagues will be discussing their career journeys in publishing, sharing how they progressed from entry level and mid-level and what they value most in their work. The speakers include: 

  • Anne Harvey, Journals Operations Manager, Cambridge University Press 
  • Albert Cascio, Vice President, Business Development, Cambridge University Press 
  • Qudsiya Ahmed, Head of Publishing - Academic, Cambridge University Press, India 
  • Danny Bean, Senior Marketing Manager - Americas and Retail, Cambridge University Press 

This is a great event for anyone curious about joining the industry and interested in the skills and experiences you can bring to roles in publishing. Join the virtual event via Zoom at 12:30 PM (GMT) on 19 November. You can also explore #WorkInPublishing on social media for more insights into the industry.

 

Find out more about life and careers at Cambridge University Press & Assessment.