This apprenticeship will be retired from ​13/05/2024. Current apprentices will be able to complete their programme. Although this apprenticeship is being retired, the occupation remains on the Occupational Map and is being replaced by the Publishing Professional level 4 apprenticeship.

Overview of the role

Supporting key parts of the publishing process from the conception to production.

Publishing assistant

Reference Number: ST0532

Details of standard


Publishing Assistants provide support for specific areas across all key parts of the publishing process from the conception of book, digital product, journal or other product (such as educational resources), through to the production, in a variety of paper and digital formats, and then to support the sales, marketing and publicity processes. Publishing Assistants will usually be involved with aspects of publishing which include editorial, marketing, sales, publicity, production, rights or digital. They will have an awareness or skills which stretch across the publishing process particularly in smaller organisations. They will typically report to an Editorial Manager and are involved with editing, proof reading and briefing external stakeholders about their work and the work of colleagues.

In different organisations the job title may vary and may include Editorial Assistant, Marketing Assistant, Publicity Assistant, Production Assistant, Rights Assistant, Contracts Assistant.

Entry requirements: Employers will specify their own entry requirements, which may include a good working knowledge of IT systems.

Knowledge. Publishing Assistants are required to know and understand:

Your organisation and the wider publishing industry

  • Your organisation’s strategy and publishing programme by genre and who your target users are.
  • The broader publishing industry

Publishing systems and software

  • How to read and apply information/data using publishing systems such as Biblio and Stison which are used to produce and sell books, journals etc
  • The importance and risk to the business involved in maintaining and managing data
  • The range of standards and mark-up languages eg XML, LaTEX, HTML used in publishing for editing
  • Content management software that supports the production process eg digital, for the variety of content at your organisation

The critical path and range of publications

  • The publishing journey from commissioning through to publication including working with manuscripts, proofs and advanced information sheets
  • The range of publications available such as illustrated books, academic publications, digital books, products and services including where appropriate apps and journals.

The editorial and production processes

  • Key stages of the publishing process, which will include editing, proof reading and briefing stakeholders
  • How to check proofs where necessary and make sure printing matches the proof
  • The costing principles of new titles and reprints to ensure cost effective production of books, to schedule
  • How to ensure all information is up to date on relevant databases, including PDF files, application files and images

The sales, marketing and publicity processes

  • The requirements of your (target users) trade partners such as bookshops, libraries, schools (teachers and students), universities, online distributors/sales.
  • The different methods used to connect and engage with influencers such as bloggers and journalists.
  • How to make appropriate connections and engage with readers
  • The options regarding digital content distribution and access; marketing strategies such as search engine optimisation, insights from web analytics; user experience and web optimisation

Rights management, digital processes

  • Deal structures and Digital Rights Management with authors including fees, advances, royalties, licensing copyright, covering territory copyright, translation rights, and serial rights.
  • Company policies regarding copyright and permissions, including appropriate digital rights to ensure compliance.

Skills. Publishing Assistants will:

Data Management

  • Input and maintain data to produce publications that meet company, sales channel and audience requirements
  • Continually improve the quality of information/data in-line with best practice

Publishing Journey and where appropriate Editorial process

  • Follow publishing/editorial guidelines relevant to their role to produce publications that meet budgets, are on schedule and meet company and industry standards
  • Ensure appropriate changes are highlighted and agreed with stakeholders
  • Apply rigour and attention to detail
  • Escalate issues and concerns, in-line with company process, to ensure the publication is delivered to time and budget constraints and your agreed milestones are achieved

Stakeholder Management

  • Clearly identify stakeholders and manage their expectations, presenting appropriate information to them clearly and concisely
  • Escalate issues and concerns regarding stakeholders as appropriate

Rights Management and Contracting

  • Ensure that publications meet digital rights management and/or deal structures agreed with authors
  • Using templates, draft contracts as required by your company

Problem solving

  • Think laterally and provide sensible solutions to unexpected challenges


  • Communicate clearly with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Show confidence and flexibility when communicating with different stakeholders, ensuring an appropriate use of language and terminology

Team working

  • Demonstrate a strong ability to work as part of a team, taking on tasks with enthusiasm and working cooperatively with others (in a timely fashion).
  • Demonstrate a clear understanding of the role you play in relation to other team members
  • Undertake tasks confidently and resourcefully, supporting the team and/or line manager as required

Working independently

  • Be pro-active and purposeful when working on your activities, apply the appropriate knowledge and seek support when it is needed
  • Demonstrate good time-management


Discretion and confidentiality

  • Show discretion when dealing with stakeholders, including colleagues, authors, customers and users, and maintain confidentiality when needed.

Attention to detail

  • Apply rigour and attention to detail in all tasks.

Determination to succeed

  • Consistently achieve personal and organisational targets
  • Take action to resolve day to day issues
  • Receptive to new ideas and respond well to day-to-day challenges
  • Resilient and determined to overcome obstacles


  • A willingness to learn and develop, embracing new challenges when they occur.


  • Demonstrates enthusiasm in their activities


Apprentices must achieve level 2 English and Maths prior to taking the End-Point Assessment for this apprenticeship if they haven’t achieved them prior to entry


Typically 18 months


This apprenticeship is set at Level 3


This apprenticeship should be reviewed after a maximum of two years.

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Status: Approved for delivery
Level: 3
Reference: ST0532
Version: 1.0
Date updated: 23/01/2024
Approved for delivery: 9 May 2018
Route: Creative and design
Typical duration to gateway : 18 months (this does not include EPA period)
Maximum funding: £6000
LARS Code: 280
EQA Provider: Ofqual
Employers involved in creating the standard: Cambridge University Press, Faber & Faber, Walker Books, Penguin Random House, Hachette, Pearson, Sage Publishing, Simon & Schuster, Harper Collins, Wiley, Bloomsbury, Scholastic, Sweet Cherry, Jessica Kingsley, KoganPage

Version log

Version Change detail Earliest start date Latest start date Latest end date
1.0 Approved for delivery 09/05/2018 13/05/2024 Not set

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