The Proofreader's Parlour
A blog for editors, proofreaders and writers
This Spotlight features Edelweiss Arnold, Marketing Manager at The Publishing Training Centre (PTC), a UK-based and nationally recognized training provider. Edelweiss kindly agreed to talk to me about the history of the organization, and provided insights into the PTC’s mission to help both new entrants to the field and established publishing professionals further their careers through high-quality training.
The early years…
As a former student of the PTC, when working in-house and later as a freelancer, I was keen to know a bit more about the Centre’s origins. Edelweiss started off by giving me the back story.
“The Publishing Training Centre is an educational charity that has been around for more than 30 years, and some of the best-known names in the publishing industry have attended training courses with us. We were born under the auspices of the Publishers Association (PA) and our first courses were run under their banner. Sir Stanley Unwin’s charitable trust identified the need for quality, professional training for the book and journal publishing industry, and his son, Rayner Unwin, took up the challenge. The trust bought a beautiful old building in southwest London, which was formerly the Municipal Works Offices of Wandsworth. The building was renamed Book House and a number of book-related charities moved in.
“At this time our fledgling training company was moved out of the Publishers Association and Book House Training Centre was born. The earliest courses offered were intensive programmes for copy-editors and commissioning staff. In the late 1990s, Book House Training Centre was renamed The Publishing Training Centre.”
Training today – in the classroom and beyond…
I then asked Edelweiss about the PTC’s current training programme. In a previous post on this blog, "Does Training Matter? What Publishers Say about Proofreading & Editing Courses", I interviewed a number of publishers specifically to find out what they considered to be the preferred editorial training courses in the UK. The PTC came up time and again as one of the most trusted UK external providers. So, more broadly, what’s on offer?
Says Edelweiss, “Today we offer more than 50 classroom-based publishing related courses, in subjects such as editing, strategy, digital publishing, e-learning and more. We also offer in-house training in these areas for companies wishing to train a number of staff members at the same time. In 1992 we started our distance learning operation.”
Classroom-based training doesn’t suit everyone, particularly if you don’t live locally and have professional and personal demands on your time. Some people may worry that an intensive short course may not give them the time to absorb all the material. They may also want to study in their own time, with the assurance that the training is going to prepare them for the market. I wanted to know what the PTC’s distance learning courses offer for the fledgling editorial freelancer beyond the classroom programme.
“The distance learning courses are designed not only to give students a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter, but also to prepare them to take on work on a freelance basis,” explained Edelweiss. “The courses are assessed and certificated, and they count towards accreditation from the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP). Our distance learning programmes are evaluated via the Publishing Qualifications Board, a subsidiary of The Publishing Training Centre that was set up to provide assessed qualifications in publishing skills.
“The courses are intensive and require commitment from students – and the assessment is rigorous. We want to ensure that every student who has passed one of our distance learning courses can legitimately say that they are ready to take on work for paying customers because they can do the job well and they have the commitment required of freelance workers.”
Distance learning courses…
So what does this particular training provider have to offer for students looking to pursue the distance-learning option? “Our courses include Basic Proofreading, Copy-Editing, Editorial Project Management, Picture Research and Successful Editorial Freelancing, a course where the assignment allows you to create a business plan and have it assessed by a business consultant. We also have two online programmes, one in grammar (Grammar at Work) and Understanding Book Publishing, which will be very helpful to those wishing to break into the publishing industry.”
An important issue for many students undertaking any sort of training is the reputation of the provider. As the conversation wrapped up, Edelweiss emphasized the importance that the PTC places on its professional links to the publishing industry and how these impact on students: “Our reputation as the foremost trainer of publishers in this country also means that our alumni have a qualification that will be recognized by clients they approach within the industry. We also have very close ties to the SfEP, the PA and the IPG (Independent Publishers Guild) and we are involved in Skillset’s current project to update the National Occupational Standards for the publishing industry.
“For more information you can visit our website at www.train4publishing.co.uk, and we would love it if you joined the discussion on our new forum!”
Louise Harnby is a professional proofreader and copyeditor. She curates The Proofreader's Parlour and is the author of several books on business planning and marketing for editors and proofreaders.
Visit her business website at Louise Harnby | Proofreader, say hello on Twitter at @LouiseHarnby, or connect via Facebook and LinkedIn.
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