Tag Archives: Diversity

Make #BlueMonday into #BrightBlueMonday

Let’s face it: January can be a miserable month. It’s cold, Christmas is over, and the days may be getting longer but you wouldn’t know it when sometimes you go days without seeing the sun at all. This all gave rise to #BlueMonday – allegedly the most depressing day of the year.

#BrightBlueMonday

However, the charity Rethink Mental Health acknowledges that mental health isn’t dictated by the date. Depression can and does affect people every day of the year and this isn’t an issue to take lightly. That’s why they have come up with #BrightBlueMonday, a day to do some good and spread a bit of joy. They suggest that you ‘share a coffee with a colleague, bake something for the office or […] text an old friend to say hello.’

Brightening up a gloomy Monday morning is definitely something we can get behind. It’s also an opportunity to talk about serious issues. Employers: what are you doing to support those with mental health issues in your company? According to Rethink, 1 in 4 of us are affected by mental illness. The charity Mind’s research shows that ‘a culture of fear and silence around mental health is costly to employers’, and it may lead to poorer employee retention, higher absenteeism and lower motivation among staff.Woman smiling under rainbow umbrella. Text reads: 15 January Show your colours on #BrightBlueMonday

So what can employers do to help?

Mind have put together a fantastic collection of resources for businesses here. It’s about being accommodating and offering tailored reasonable adjustments to employees, whether that’s flexible working, providing a workspace that is, for example, quiet or has lots of natural light, or extra support for employees experiencing stress. Another policy could be a buddy system, which offers support outside of a line-management structure.

Charities like Mind and Rethink Mental Health have contributed to the positive cultural shift in attitudes towards mental illness. Companies are also making changes to better support their employees, but there are things we could all do to reach out to our friends and colleagues who may be struggling. So let’s make #BlueMonday into #BrightBlueMonday and spread some positivity today.

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Building Inclusivity in Publishing Conference 2017

Is Publishing Inclusive these days?

Diversity or inclusivity in publishing is very much in the industry news and I went along to the Building Inclusivity in Publishing Conference organised by the London Book Fair and the Publisher’s Association. It’s really good that the industry is addressing this, but it does feel like it’s a particular issue within Trade book publishing. We work with a wide range of sectors in publishing (academic, educational, professional, trade, STM, B2B) and there is a much more mixed demographic across the other sectors.

Matt Hancock, Minister of State for Creative Industries said diversity is a moral imperative and our social and economic responsibility which I’m sure we all agree with. Everyone also seemed to agree we need to have more role models from diverse backgrounds and it’s vital that there is diversity in senior leadership. Simon Dowson-Collins, General Counsel and Company Secretary at HarperCollins acknowledged that all people are different – some are extrovert, some introvert but it’s important to speak out so people can see BAME people in senior roles and aspire to it.

Halo/Horns Effect

In terms of recruitment, it’s important to have processes in place that avoid what’s called the ‘halo / horns’ effect – where you immediately warm to people like you and are less keen on those who are different. Some of our publisher clients are on top of this, for example using new processes that strip out names in the application process so hiring managers are not biased in their selection process. There have also been some recent strides including the HarperCollins BAME scheme, Little Brown’s new imprint Dialogue Books (publishing books by people under-represented in publishing).

Broadening Inclusivity in Entry-Level Recruitment

The afternoon session looked at broadening inclusivity in entry-level recruitment in publishing and there has been some progress in this area – it’s no longer the case that an English lit degree and a love of books is enough! Initiatives like Penguin no longer requiring a degree and offering help with accommodation and HarperCollins using video interviews and having a BAME grad scheme are helping. But it needs more work like us going in to schools to encourage publishing as a great career for all.

The Publisher’s Association has a 10-Point Inclusivity Action Plan that publishers can sign up to and is definitely worth a read to get some good ideas!

#Inclusivityconf17

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Beanstalk and Reading Matters have joined forces!

We were delighted to hear that Beanstalk who we’ve been supporting for the last 7 years has now merged with another literacy charity, Reading Matters. This will allow them to support even more children and young people and help them to achieve their 2020 vision of working with 30,000 children.

The aim of the charity is to help children from disadvantaged backgrounds gain confidence in reading. Beanstalk provides 1-1 reading support to children in primary schools and early years, Reading Matters covers secondary schools so this is a great combination.

In 2016-17 Reading Matters helped 6,497 children and young people while Beanstalk worked with 11,000 children over the same period.

About Beanstalk

  • Beanstalk is a national charity that provides one-to-one literacy support to children who struggle with their reading.
  • The charity recruits, trains and supports volunteers to provide one-to-one literacy support in primary schools.
    Beanstalk’s trained reading helpers transform the lives of the children they support, turning them into confident, passionate and able readers.
  • In the last school year the charity helped over 11,000 children across England, in over 1,400 schools, with the help of over 3,000 reading helpers, ensuring children have the skills and confidence to reach their true potential.
  • By 2020-21 Beanstalk aims to help 30,000 children every year, with 8,000 volunteers.

About Reading Matters

  • Reading Matters is a registered charity and not-for-profit social enterprise which began in 1997. Since then, the charity has supported tens of thousands of young people.
  • In 2016/17, Reading Matters supported 6,497 children and young people and on average increased reading ages by 13 months in just 10 weeks.
  • The charity runs a range of programmes: Reading Mentors, Reading Leaders, Reading Families and Reading Teams. They provide schools with a resource box of reading materials that will engage and encourage reluctant readers.
  • Reading Matters’ social mission is to help children, young people and adults to reach their potential by becoming confident and enthusiastic readers.

More info:

www.beanstalkcharity.org.uk

and check out the Bookseller article: https://www.thebookseller.com/news/beanstalk-and-reading-matters-merge-664681

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International Literacy Day

Today, 8th September, is International Literacy Day, a day observed by UN member states to internationally recognise the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies, and aims to increase literacy around the world.

You can read more about the aims of this international day here on the UNESCO website: http://en.unesco.org/themes/literacy-all/literacy-day.

This year, the focus is on Digital Literacy, and how the changes in technology and the move towards new digital environments is changing the understanding of what literacy is, and how a lack of digital literacy skills could further marginalise those without basic literacy skills.

To mark this day, some of Atwood Tate have thought back to those books which were formative in helping us learn to read initially; books which are often forgotten but are hugely important first steps.

Andrew Willis

The first  books I can remember reading were The Magic Key series, which followed Biff, Chip and Kipper, created by Roderick Hunt and published by Oxford University Press. As part of the National Curriculum, a whole generation must have learnt to read, thanks in part to The Magic Key.

Alice Crick

I still remember my parents reading the very first Harry Potter books to me as a child. It really instilled the joys of reading in me from an early age.

Claire Louise Kemp

I don’t remember learning to read, but some of the first books I remember loving were books by Beatrix Potter and the Mr Men books.

Helen Speedy

I loved the Usborne Book of Wizards and the Usborne Book of Witches.  The illustrations by the late Stephen Cartwright take me right back to childhood when I look at them now and I’m so pleased to see that they are still in print, even if it’s in a slightly different format.  I also used to spend hours looking through The Usborne First Thousand Words trying to spot the little duck in each picture. My Mum, a German teacher, also bought us a copy of this in German in the hope we’d also become linguists…

 

Atwood Tate support the charity Beanstalk, who do fantastic work providing one-to-one literacy support to children who struggle with their reading ability and confidence.

 

 

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BAME in Publishing: One Year On

We are very pleased to bring you a guest post from Sarah Shaffi and Wei Ming Kam, founders of BAME in Publishing, a group which aims to support and encourage people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds in the publishing industry.

Last year, they wrote a blog post for us about why they set up the group and provided some advice for working in the industry, which you can read here.

One year on, they reflect on their experiences of the group, and if anything has changed:

Five things we’ve learnt in a year of BAME in Publishing…

A year ago we set up BAME in Publishing – a networking group for people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds working in publishing, or wanting to break into the industry. Here are five things we’ve learnt from running the group.

  • BAME in Publishing fills a gap

When we set up the group, we weren’t sure if anyone was going to be interested, but even a year later we’re still getting new members, and all our meetings are full. It’s shown us that there is a real thirst for a group and a space when BAME people can form relationships, get career advice, and feel like they belong.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help/favours

We’ve turned to a lot of different people for help with various things and have been surprised how many want to support us in any way they can. We’ve been offered venues to host meet ups from publishers and bookshops, and it’s been heartening to know that much of the industry supports the work we do.

  • There are BAME people in the industry

Sometimes it feels like there are hardly any people from BAME backgrounds working in publishing, but running BAME in Publishing we’ve seen that this isn’t true. Our members come from all kinds of companies – big, small, trade, academic, publishers, agencies and so one. BAME talent is out there, which is encouraging, however…

  • There is a long way to go

It’s clear from our membership that a lot of the BAME talent are in junior positions. There are definitely some great senior role models out there (Ailah Ahmed from Virago, Natalie Jerome and Perminder Mann at Kings Road Publishing to name a few), but more needs to be done to make sure junior staff rise up the ranks quickly so that they can affect real change when it comes to the ethnic diversity of the industry. However, we do think that…

  • The future is bright

One thing we see at meeting after meeting is that there are so many talented people coming into publishing who want to make a difference, publish brilliant books, and be the leaders of tomorrow. We have no doubt that today’s bright young things will be heading up tomorrow’s publishing houses.

Wei Ming Kam and Sarah Shaffi at the BAME in Publishing 1st Birthday Party

Sarah Shaffi is online editor and producer at The Bookseller and tweets @sarahshaffi . Wei Ming Kam is sales and marketing executive at Oberon Books and tweets @weimingkam.

For more on BAME in Publishing, visit bameinpublishing.tumblr.com. You can also check out the #BAMEinPublishing hashtag on twitter and follow them on Instagram.

The group meets regularly, mostly in Central London. If you are interested in joining, please email bameinpublishing@gmail.com with your full name, email address, company you work for and your position (if applicable).

BAME in Publishing has been shortlisted for the #HClub100. Vote for them here!

 

 

Atwood Tate Limited embraces diversity and aims to promote the benefits of diversity in all of our business activities. For more information visit our policies page https://www.atwoodtatepublishingjobs.co.uk/policies/

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Publishing Innovation Conference 2017: Decoding Diversity

What exactly does diversity mean in the publishing world? Is it solely about equality in gender or race? Can diversity just mean a difference in ideas rather than cultures? Are we any closer to being more representative of the different experiences readers have today than we were a decade ago?

The Publishing Innovation Conference is going to attempt to answer these questions! Organised by the current MA Publishing course at London College of Communication, this conference will encourage an engaging dialogue on the topic of diversity, ranging from issues of race, gender, class, disability and accessibility and how they are being addressed within the industry.

A great topic, and very timely.

Are you going to this event? Let us know!

London College of Communication, Elephant & Castle, SE1 6SB

 

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Beanstalk | Story Starters

Beanstalk Story Starters

Beanstalk | Story Starters

Last month our chosen charity, Beanstalk, received some fantastic news! They were awarded £1million by the DreamFund (People’s Postcode Lottery) for their partnership ‘Story Starters’!

‘Story Starters’ is a collaborative project, which will see Beanstalk working with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and LuCiD at the University of Liverpool. They will be working together to help children from disadvantaged backgrounds, receive one-to-one support and mentoring to develop their language and reading skills!

Beanstalk is a national literacy charity who recruits volunteers to work in primary schools with children to help them develop their reading. Volunteers are specially trained to spend 30 minutes, two times a week, reading with a child one-to-one for a whole year. To help children develop the truly important skill of reading. In 2016 alone Beanstalk helped over 11,000 children across the UK, in deprived areas, and with this funding they can help many more.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a global programme operating worldwide, with more than 1 million children receiving books per month, to help them fall in love with reading. LuCiD is a research collaboration which is researching how children learn to communicate with language.

Beanstalk

The CEO of Beanstalk, Ginny Lunn, and the Beanstalk partners receiving their DreamFund cheque – all rights attributed to Beanstalk

Previous research has shown that support within schools at schools can benefit children throughout their life. 20% are more likely to get 5 A*-C GCSE’s and earn more as adults.

This is a very exciting time for Beanstalk and we couldn’t be more pleased for them. With the £1million funding they will be able to recruit and train a further 600 Story Starter volunteers and help 1,800 children between 3-5 years old to develop their reading!

Beanstalk is a truly worthwhile charity and we’re happy to support them! If you would like to learn more about Beanstalk, and Story Starters make sure you check out there website!

Be sure to check out our previous fundraising challenge for them, and let us know your ideas for the next! You can send us your ideas via social media or commenting on this blog post: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube or Instagram.

 

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Companies: Why You Should Consider Temps

Why You Should Consider Temps

Companies: Why You Should Consider Temps

Our articles on temping have typically been to inform candidates of the many benefits that come with temping, both professionally and personally. But today, we’d like to point out the many reasons why temping is such a useful avenue for clients to consider.

  • The flexibility of temps also means company flexibility.

If you’re expanding your team but you’re not quite prepared to hire a permanent person, a temporary employee is a great way to establish exactly what it is you need in terms of additional resources. Maybe you’ve never had extra hands on deck and you’re only now starting to realise the new objectives you can tackle. A temp-to-perm scenario can be a match made in heaven for company and employee alike. As someone grows into a newly created role and reveals the kind of results that can be produced with more staff. The manager can then take these results to HR as Exhibit A on what expanding the team can mean for everyone.

But more than that,

  • Temps bring their own expertise with them.

They don’t need to be entry-level candidates acting as a stop-gap. By hiring consultants or veteran freelancers, a company also gets to avail of a temporary worker’s own experiences, the different business practices they’ve witnessed in their time. New blood often means new ideas and even if the worker doesn’t stick around, their contributions can last forever.

And, of course,

  • Temporary workers can provide much needed breathing space to permanent employees.

When the day-to-day administration is taken off their hands, they’re able to concentrate on the bigger picture and implement the projects. This improve service and streamline practices. You can get a lot done when you don’t have to sweat the small stuff. Even if it’s only for a little while.

So, for anyone who’s currently reviewing team numbers or work-loads, don’t commit until you know for sure exactly what you need – try a temp today! Get in touch with Kellie Millar, who manages our Temps and Freelancers desk, or her colleague, Alison Redfearn, and they can send you more workers than you can shake a stick at!

5 reasons to get a temp:

  • Cover sick leave
  • Cover holiday
  • Help with a project
  • Flexibility – have for 1 day / 1 week / 1 month…
  • No admin – we cover all payment, NI, holiday pay, pension

Kellie Millar
E: kelliemillar@atwoodtate.co.uk
Tel: 02070347897

Alison Redfearn
E: alisonredfearn@atwoodtate.co.uk
Tel: 02070347922

You can also contact us with any questions via our social media pages: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube or Instagram.

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Building Inclusivity in Publishing

building-inclusivity-in-publishing

Our pledge to help publishing to build inclusivity

Last month The London Book Fair, in partnership with The Publishers Association, held a conference on Building Inclusivity. I attended the event for Atwood Tate, because in our role as a publishing recruitment agency we have a responsibility to ensure recruitment processes are inclusive and offer all suitable candidates an equal opportunity to be considered for a role.

As members of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, we adhere to its Code of Professional Practice.  A respect for diversity is one of the main guiding principles of this code. We adhere to all applicable legislation, encourage equal opportunities in recruitment and establish working practices to safeguard against prejudice.

Over the past few weeks, I have been reflecting on the thoughts and insights that were shared at the Building Inclusivity event.  To start with, in using the word “inclusivity” rather than “diversity” the organisers of the event were clearly trying to drive on the tired conversation which has been stalling for a long time in the publishing industry.  Semantics can have a strong effect and I did feel that there was renewed energy and determination shown by speakers and delegates at the conference.  There was a focus openness and accessibility rather than a defining of differences and analysis of the norm versus the “other” in the publishing industry as things stand.

In her keynote speech, Crystal Mahey-Morgan, founder of OWN IT!, reminded us that books lead to readers developing empathy, and empathy leads to humanity.  I only learned about this proven link between reading and the development of empathy and morals when reading Maryanne Wolf’s wonderful Proust and the Squid (which incidentally I would recommend to anyone interested in literacy, reading, neurology and sociology), so whilst a lot of people in the book industry may know about the importance of reading for society, Mahey-Morgan’s words were a powerful reminder.

Charities like Beanstalk do important work in getting into schools to promote reading to all, but I know from observing my own children learning to read, that in order for a person to want to read, the content needs to be engaging and interesting.  None of us expect our friends and family to necessarily share all of our interests or preferences, so we already accept a variety of genres and content, but the consensus at the Building Inclusivity conference was that the books published in the UK are not wholly representative of our society or meeting its needs.

Recruitment & Inclusivity

It was clearly felt that there is a correlation between what is published and who is working in publishing and that’s where the recruitment side of things comes into play.  The industry needs to be more than just “open” to recruiting from outside of the traditional profile of publishing people but needs to make an effort to demonstrate the desire to be inclusive and take measure to increase accessibility to a wider pool of prospective employees.

At the conference, employers were encouraged to make a pledge as what measures they would aim to take after the conference in order to play an active part in creating a publishing industry that is inclusive and representative of our society as a whole.

My pledge on the day to do more at the grass roots level with Beanstalk was inspired by looking at what we could do personally at Atwood Tate to help bring a love of reading to a wider range of children.  Crystal Mahey-Morgan’s words about humanity and the story of author Robyn Travis struck a chord with me, as a governor at a primary school in a deprived area, where a lot of children a brought up in homes without books.

However, we at Atwood Tate also want to make it our pledge to ensure that we are providing as much advice and support to our publisher clients, as possible to help them to promote equal opportunities in recruitment and share ideas as to how to establish working practices to safeguard against prejudice and promote inclusivity and equality.

We are not HR consultants or expert advisors, but we can offer the following:

  • As trained members of the REC, we all have a solid understanding of all applicable legislation and Atwood Tate embraces diversity and seeks to promote the benefits of diversity in all of our business activities and to develop a business culture that reflects that belief.
  • Through our daily work and attending industry events and REC round table meetings we keep up to date with new trends and initiatives. We can share the knowledge and insight we have about what is being done in publishing and other industries to improve inclusivity in recruitment processes.
  • We are expert at writing engaging and non-discriminatory job advertisements and we are able to advertise widely and reach out to candidates outside of the publishers traditional networks.

What are your thoughts on inclusivity in publishing? Let us know in the comments below or contact us on our social media sites: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram.

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Building Inclusivity in Publishing

Our consultant Helen Speedy will be attending the Building Inclusivity in Publishing conference run by the Publishers’ Association and the London Book Fair. The day-long conference will look at each component of the publishing industry and the representation of people in each area, from authors to consumers.

You can read more about the event and the speakers attending at our blog here. As an equal opportunities employer and business we feel this is a very important event and one we can’t wait to hear about in further detail. Expect a blog post shortly after the event to summarise the main points featured.

If you are attending the event let us know via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram. And be sure to say hello to Helen if you see her!

Building Inclusivity in Publishing

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