Confidence, Knowledge and Career Progression: Why You Should Apply to Join the Printing Charity’s 2024 Constellation of Rising Stars

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Opportunities to boost your publishing career, especially early on in your journey, can be game-changing.

The Printing Charity’s Sam Nelson, and 2023 Rising Star Award winner Kevin Worrall, Marketing Executive at the Edinburgh University Press, explain how the Printing Charity’s Rising Star Awards can help publishing’s emerging talent achieve their future career ambitions and forge their path ahead. 

Sam, tell us why the Printing Charity Rising Star Awards are so important.

We all know that the industries the charity supports, including publishing, are rapidly evolving and innovating, so it’s important the people working within them are able to develop and adapt at the same pace. 

The Rising Star Awards are the largest awards programme for young people aged 18-30, the emerging talent in our industry. Winners receive grants of up to £1500 to invest in personal and professional development that will build skills to help them shine in their career.  

The awards are a route for these young people to take control of their career development and build knowledge and expertise. This will equip them with the skills that both they, and our industries, need to continue to thrive into the future.

Kevin, what was the moment that made you want to invest in your skills and future career through the Rising Star Awards?

Having seen the success and training opportunities that opened up for my colleague who won a Rising Star Award in 2022, I became galvanised into thinking about how I wanted my career to look five years from now, leading me to apply for this year’s Rising Star Award.

Sam, what opportunities does the Rising Star Award provide?

The Rising Star Awards are an opportunity for anyone aged 18-30 working in the industry sectors we support, regardless of job role or department, to invest in the training and development they know will build their skillsets to enhance their career opportunities in our exciting, ever-evolving industry. 

Previous Stars have selected courses for personal development, such as communication, resilience or presentation skills; leadership & management courses; courses that enhance core skills; and training from professional bodies which ends in an industry-recognised qualification. 

We’re proud of what our previous winners have achieved, including embracing additional responsibilities and receiving promotions. I’d encourage potential Stars to read more about these inspiring journeys on our website.

Kevin, what were the training / courses you selected to undertake after winning a Printing Charity Rising Star Award, and what was their impact on your career development?

I am still working on my year-long course on marketing and branding strategy, which is incredibly thorough and challenging. However, I have already completed two sets of courses. One on how metadata can improve a book’s discoverability. The other on online writing, which bolstered me into thinking more strategically on creating marketing copy that shines. I also received a year’s membership of Bookmachine Campus.  

And where are you now? Has your career path progressed the way you expected? Has anything surprised you?

I’ve been able to put much of what I’ve learned into practice and share my newfound knowledge with team members. I have built my confidence in dealing with authors, in putting myself forward for new projects and in having conversations with my line manager on career progression and development. 

So, do you have any tips to share with someone who is unsure about where to start when mapping out their career progression?

Think about someone in your company or your industry whose career you admire and ask yourself what qualities and skills they possess that you would like to embody. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them, ask questions and seek their advice on the steps they took in the early stages of their career. 

You can also scope out LinkedIn job descriptions for positions you are working towards, identify what gaps in experience you are missing and discuss with your line manager what training you can undertake to fill those gaps.

Sam, how can people inspired by Kevin’s achievements apply for the Awards?

I’d really encourage potential applicants to start preparing now, with a conversation with their manager, HR team, mentor or a trusted colleague about their career goals, and the skills gaps they need to bridge to reach them. 

Applications are open via our website between 29th January and 5th April. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an informal online interview with an industry expert in May, to chat more about their career development planning. Winners are announced in June, and we celebrate at the House of Lords in July. 

The best applications show how people have considered their career goals; have discussed their ambitions, and training to achieve them, with others; and clearly prove how the proposed course or courses will help them achieve their ambitions.

Good luck to all those who apply! It would be great to see publishing’s emerging talent represented in our 2024 Stars constellation. 

And, finally, Kevin, what’s your number one tip for someone applying for the Awards?

As cliché as it sounds, be yourself! When writing the application, take your time and have conversations with your line manager about what they think you should include. 

If you make it through to the interview round, be ready to articulate exactly how the Rising Star Award can help you in your career. The judges want to invest in you! All they are looking for is someone with a clear and firm idea on how the prize can assist them.

More information on everything Rising Stars is available on the Printing Charity website: Rising Star Awards 2023 – The Printing Charity. Please e-mail if you have specific questions or would like further application support. 

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