In an earlier post, I mentioned the KTP Training and Development budget which encourages Associates to develop their skills and knowledge to help them now as well as post-KTP. With June 2012 marking two years of our three-year KTP project, I decided to direct more attention to my training and development and, last Sunday, in search of new skills, I headed North.
My trusty SatNav led the way through snow and thick fog around the M25 and up the A1(M). Two hours later, and after I had long since tired of hearing myself singing really bad songs, really badly at the radio, my TomTom and I arrived in Peterborough.
Why Peterborough, you ask? Well, with a population less than a quarter that of Surrey and with notable past and present Peterborians including the co-founder of Rolls-Royce, Sir Henry Royce; TV presenter, Sir Jimmy Saville and the founder of Pizza Express, Peter Boizot, it was clearly well worth a visit. It also happens to be the hub of the RHS Media Department and home to the editorial teams responsible for the production of our in-house monthly magazine, The Garden, and our quarterly journals, The Plantsman and The Orchid Review.
The week involved working with the self-effacing, but brilliant teams responsible for producing the beautiful, glossy RHS magazines and journals that so often arrive on my desk throughout the year. I spent much of the week learning how to rewrite material to fit the required word count, the importance of a good standfirst – the few, short sentences that sell a story to a reader, and the need to proof-read everything, at least twice. I sat amongst the 12-strong team who work on The Garden, the one-man and one-woman bands who edit The Plantsman and The Orchid Review and the fantastic trio that make up the online team who constantly update our web pages to keep them current and interesting.
A week’s worth of experience later and I can say with some conviction that working in the world of publishing involves continual change and a constant stream of fast-approaching deadlines. For journals and magazines, rather than working in the present, you are forever focussed on the future. Whilst there is still snow on the ground and salt shortages in the supermarkets, you will be writing about feeding and deadheading bedding plants and coping with summer hose pipe bans in the garden. What’s really great is that a job in publishing provides regular, tangible evidence of your efforts – articles that people you have never met will pin on their fridges or in scrap books to read and re-read long after you’ve finished working on them.