Success for the Oxfordshire Publishing Group
The Oxfordshire Publishing Group (OPG) has recently been awarded a £150,000 grant by Creative Skillset to develop training courses for publishers in the region over the next two years.
The bid was won by the Oxfordshire Publishing Cluster Group, an informal group of senior local publishers who have been meeting over the last two years to discuss areas of common interest and to engage more closely with the local councils and the Local Enterprise Partnership. The group has been coordinated by the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies (OICPS). The grant is being held by OICPS on behalf of the Group and the running and administration of the work will be done by the Centre.
The OPG bid was part of a larger bid made by Creative Skillset on behalf of over 500 creative industry employers and partners in such fields as film, TV, animation, games, VFX, publishing, digital media, and fashion and textile. The total amount of money co-invested by government is £20 million and this is matched by £17 million industry contributions from the largest ever partnership of creative companies in the UK. The launch, on 14th July, took place at Channel 4’s headquarters in London, with speakers including David Abraham, Chief Executive of Channel 4, Ed Vaizey, MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Culture, Media and Sport, Matthew Hancock MP, and Sir Charlie Mayfield, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership and Chair UKCES.
The first step for the OPG has been to determine precisely what sort of courses Oxfordshire publishers would like to be made available and, having surveyed all local publishers, a steering group will be planning the content of each.
The OPG has been meeting regularly for 18 months and working together to get this grant is a huge achievement as it will allow training to be designed by local publishers, primarily for local publishers, and delivered locally. The courses will all be not-for-profit, ensuring that they are affordable for small- and medium-sized publishers as well as larger companies, and SMEs will also be able to take advantage of Oxford City Council vouchers, which will refund 50% of the cost of sending delegates on the courses.
All courses are open to any publisher in the UK, but preference will be given to Oxfordshire publishers in the first week of booking. The grant is only available to publishers who are resident in England, but publishers outside this country will be able to take up any unfilled places.
The first course, Creative Entrepreneurship, will take place from 19-21 November. This is a re-run of the Fusion Workshop that was held in February, which one delegate from Cambridge University Press described as ‘…fantastic - one of the best I've ever been on. Very inspirational and interesting”. More courses will be run in the new year and details of these will be on our website.
In addition to the courses, the OPG have also made a commitment to have closer engagement with local schools. This might involve going into school to help with literacy programmes, talking to pupils from as diverse background as possible to consider publishing as a career, and running publishing careers stands at local Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council events.