Pan Macmillan launches proofreading traineeship scheme

Pan Macmillan is launching a positive action proofreading traineeship, in association with the Publishing Training Centre and Creative Access, for applicants from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in publishing.

The scheme includes a free, virtual, industry-recognized proofreading course, sponsored by Pan Macmillan and delivered by the Publishing Training Centre (PTC), as well as a trial proofread and mentoring from Pan Macmillan desk editors.

The role of a proofreader is to check a text for typos, grammatical mistakes, inconsistencies and any other errors once it has been laid out in its final format – it’s the last stage of the editorial process. Although some companies may employ proofreaders on staff, by far the majority will hire freelance proofreaders, who work from home, choose their own hours, and can accept or decline whichever projects they wish. Most freelance proofreaders will work with several different publishers, and increasingly with self-published authors as well.

The opportunity is aimed at Black, Asian and ethnically diverse candidates, disabled people, people who are neurodivergent, and trans or otherwise gender-nonconforming people – and specifically those who feel that a traditional office environment is not the right fit for them and who are looking to begin a full-time freelance career, or to those interested in freelancing part-time alongside other commitments. No previous publishing experience is required, though applicants who have left in-house publishing roles and are interested in returning to the industry on a freelance basis are also welcome.

The course will take place virtually and will cover: the purpose of proofreading; how proofreading fits into the publishing process; how to check proofs and what mistakes to look out for; how to judge how much you should be changing; how to mark corrections; using style guides; and working to a brief and deadline. 

On successful completion of the training, participants will be invited to take Pan Macmillan’s proofreading test, and will then be offered the opportunity to complete a paid digital proofread, to a deadline – with feedback on their work provided by a member of Pan Macmillan’s desk editing team. 

To help support participants as they begin freelance careers, they will also receive access to two additional PTC distance learning courses: Essential Grammar and Successful Editorial Freelancing, which they will be able to complete over the following 12 months.

Potential candidates can apply through Creative Access. 

Freelance proofreaders are an important part of the publishing process; they are a pair of fresh eyes on the titles they work on, and their interventions are crucial in ensuring that the books we publish are as good as they possibly can be. Alongside our in-house DEI efforts, the managing editors recognize the importance of ensuring that the pool of freelancers they work with is as diverse and inclusive as possible. We hope that the applicants who take advantage of this positive action training scheme will become valued proofreaders and, perhaps – in time – copy-editors, with long-term freelance careers in publishing, and will ultimately be of benefit to the publishing industry as a whole.
Sophie Brewer, Associate Publisher at Pan Macmillan