Placement at Oxford University Press

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I arrived at the side entrance to Oxford University Press on a sunny Monday morning. Just inside was an impressively large podium holding the newest edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary and a staggeringly busy reception and main fairway. Having met my supervisor, I was able to sit in on the fortnightly project status meeting where the team ran through a dizzyingly long, colour-coded spreadsheet in record time. I was starting to get an idea of just how much is produced by the English Language Teaching division, who I would spend my week with.

Despite having so much work, the team were extremely welcoming. They were happy to answer my questions, show me their work and always made sure I knew when a tea break was in the offing. Throughout the week I was fortunate enough to be trusted with interesting work that genuinely needed to be done. I felt like a valued member of the team and feel I got a real understanding of what working at OUP is like. I loved it.

I worked as part of the Content Production department, checking pack components and proofs and, somewhat terrifyingly, writing post-publication changes on the department’s copies. All of these tasks were excellent opportunities to practise the skills I have built up on the course as well as a few from my undergraduate degree (I didn’t expect the International Phonetic Alphabet to come in very handy after leaving Linguistics!).

I was also able to meet with a wide range of OUP employees in various roles and departments. These meetings really helped me to see how the various divisions of OUP work together and what they each do. Each staff member I met with was characteristically helpful, kind and generous with their time, as was everyone I met at the Press. I was able to see how everything I have learned about publishing over the past 10 months applies to the publishing industry, from design, to editorial, to production, in Education, ELT and Academic, I spoke to everyone.

Following a nice lunch in Jericho and a positive end-of-placement review with my supervisor, my week at OUP was over all too soon. I’m truly grateful to everyone who made it such a worthwhile, interesting week, and hope to be back before too long!

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