At the beginning of June, I started working at Prepress Projects as one of two summer interns. After spending 4 years at university surrounded by books, journals and texts of all kinds as I worked towards a degree in English and comparative literature, publishing seemed like an ideal career choice, and I was thrilled to be able to go straight from studying into a publishing job.
While I was a student, I completed a few work experience and shadowing placements with educational and academic publishers. These gave me a great insight into what working in publishing was really like, and only reaffirmed my choice of career, so it is no surprise that the Prepress Projects internship advertisement – offering one of the few paid publishing internships in Scotland – caught my eye.
After submitting my application in April, I received an email inviting me to interview and outlining the process – an interview with two Prepress employees and a chance to ask any questions I had about the position, plus a short general knowledge and editing test. In comparison with my typical experience with employer decisions, waiting anxiously for days or even weeks to get a response, they didn’t keep me waiting long for an answer after I left the interview; I was surprised and delighted to get a phone call later that day offering me the position.
My first few weeks at Prepress Projects flew by in a blur of training sessions and getting to grips with new things. I very quickly learned to style documents, brushed up on my proofreading symbols, and was taught how to use more complex features in Microsoft Word, like wildcards, to help me work more efficiently. Overall, I’ve found that there is good balance here between being challenged but also being given enough time and support to understand and improve at everything I’m learning.
Tasks that I carry out on a day-to-day basis include proofreading, collating corrections and author responses onto proofs, and editing text, references, and artwork to comply with client style guidelines. The variation of my workload has increased gradually, and over time I’ve taken on new and more complex tasks like copy-editing.
Before the end of the internship, I was lucky enough to be offered a job as a Project Editor. Now, I’m looking forward to building on everything I’ve learnt during my internship as I work towards achieving more long-term goals in my job, but even if I weren’t staying on at Prepress, this internship would still have been an incredibly valuable step on my career path. I’ve gained a solid understanding of the production process in publishing as well as hands-on experience.
Contrary to the ‘coffee-making intern’ stereotype, interns at Prepress are treated the same way as every other employee, receive the same benefits, and have the chance to do real work and make a contribution. As someone with a background in literature, I’ve also been able to expand my scientific knowledge through the publications I’ve worked on as part of the journals team.
I’ve enjoyed working in the Prepress office and really appreciate having friendly, helpful colleagues who are always willing to answer my questions (of which there are many!). It’s a very welcoming work environment, and I would thoroughly encourage anyone who is interested in a career in publishing to apply for next year’s internship.