PATHWAYS: career development at OUP

17 May 2024
7 min read

PATHWAYS is an in-house career development programme designed by Oxford University Press (OUP) to support all colleagues in exploring their potential and developing their careers, regardless of where they are in their journey.

Launched in 2023, PATHWAYS welcomed over 200 global colleagues in its first cohort. The programme aims to empower participants by providing structured learning opportunities for career development, skill enhancement, and personal growth. This initiative has significantly impacted individuals within OUP, shaping their careers and enhancing their overall experience. 

The programme offers a multifaceted approach to career development. It includes live workshops, mentorship, and self-directed learning opportunities to inspire and provide practical ideas for the next steps in a participant’s career. By leveraging these resources, participants identify their strengths, address skill gaps, and pave a clear path toward their professional goals. This holistic approach ensures that participants are not only equipped with skills needed for their roles but can also develop their interpersonal skills crucial for career growth.

PATHWAYS is made up of three pathways, each covering a different stage of career development.

  • The Explorer pathway is for anyone looking for a career change but unsure where to start. This pathway helps participants find out more about other career paths at OUP and narrow down career options to pursue further.
  • The Navigator pathway is for those who have a direction in mind but need support building the necessary skills and experience needed to get there. This pathway helps participants with application and interview preparation.
  • The Pioneer pathway is for colleagues who have recently moved into a new role and want to build positive relationships with new colleagues, build confidence and overcome imposter syndrome.


“The experience has been fantastic. I loved meeting people from other countries and the speakers’ experiences were really useful and motivational.”

Patricia, Inventory, Madrid

What do colleagues say about PATHWAYS?

Following the programme, participants expressed that they could identify additional career opportunities at OUP. They gained a clearer understanding of actionable steps for personal development and felt more confident exploring roles beyond their immediate team.

91% of previous explorers said the programme clarified what was important to them in their career, helped them learn about different business areas at OUP, and prioritize potential career options.

90% of previous navigators said PATHWAYS helped them articulate their skills and experience, develop their personal brand, and prepare for new roles.

And 95% of previous pioneers said the programme enabled them to create a 90-day action plan, build positive relationships with internal stakeholders, and increase their confidence.

Enhancing the OUP experience

Beyond individual career development, PATHWAYS has had a broader impact on the overall employee experience at OUP. By prioritizing employee development, OUP has cultivated a more engaged and motivated workforce, fostering a culture of continuous learning and professional growth. PATHWAYS acts as a catalyst to do so. 


Roberta Celeste

Group HR Director and PATHWAYS Programme sponsor

Roberta emphasizes the importance of PATHWAYS and the impact it has on career development.

“Career development is really important, and since PATHWAYS was launched last year it has been making a big contribution across OUP. In our 2023 People Survey, whilst we have seen good improvement in the areas related to professional growth, career development was an area that colleagues indicated we could do more on. By investing in PATHWAYS our colleagues now have a way to prioritize and be supported to further develop their career. Work is such an important part of our lives. Developing ourselves and feeling that we are advancing in our career is one of the best ways to make it a fulfilling opportunity. With that in mind, it is fundamental we focus on creating more opportunities for colleagues to do that, and this is what PATHWAYS does.“

By providing structured opportunities for growth, PATHWAYS has profoundly impacted individuals’ careers, sense of belonging, and overall experience within OUP. As the programme continues to evolve, it will undoubtedly play a crucial role in shaping the future success of both OUP and its employees.

“Thank you so much to everyone who made this possible. I have learned so much here and really appreciate the growth mindset, encouragement, and the quality time spent to bring this to OUP.”

Anna, Journals Production, Oxford


Mariangela Lopez

Project Editor

Based in our Oxford office, Mariangela shares her positive experience and key takes from PATHWAYS, highlighting its impactful role on shaping her professional growth.

Q: What role did PATHWAYS play in helping you shape your career development and your new role?

A: I think PATHWAYS played a main role in preparing and motivating me to take that next step.

As a professional, it can be challenging to determine the right time to seek a new role. This uncertainty can derive from various factors like self-doubt of your skills; or not being fully aware of what channels your organization has for people’s development.

The PATHWAYS programme boosted my confidence by helping me understand how to build my personal brand in line with my professional objectives and how to position my transferable skills in a more appealing way. For me, it’s one thing to know you need a personal brand and another to feel confident enough to start building it. Knowing you have a full array of strengths and skills is different from knowing how to position them in a way that elevates your professional profile.

Q: What was the biggest thing you took away from PATHWAYS regarding the support of your career?

A: I think the biggest take away was viewing my “squiggly” career as a strength rather than a weakness.

It’s common to be told from a young age that our post-school choices must align perfectly with our career goals. This could make you feel like the start of your career is a life sentence, and anything seemingly different from the traditional path to a desired role will be damaging for your professional profile, as it can be perceived as a lack of focus or direction.

In my case, you could say my career is more a series of doodles than a squiggly and continuous line. Through this programme I realized the many shared skills amongst these roles and recognized that they all aligned to my own strengths, regardless of how untraditional my path may seem. I learnt to see all those “lateral” steps in a more positive light and see the value of a varied experience.

Faeez Faruqi

Senior HSSE Manager

From our Karachi office, Faeez shares his experience on how PATHWAYS positively impacted his career development.

Q: What role did PATHWAYS play in helping you shape your career development and your new role?

A: PATHWAYS introduced me step by step into an already known organization that had changed when I was away. Not only for its innovative design but more interactive layouts, let me choose how and where I could apply myself to at least think, then to know how to progress. It literally helped me understand the options available, have stimulating conversations and then discuss what I was going through with my peers and hear similar stories from them. The clarity that comes with it is impeccable and empowering.


Q: What was the biggest thing you took away in regard to supporting your career?

A: The concept of Squiggly Careers, “What does this function do?” live event, and understanding how does OUP connect to each other, would be just three of the most cherished options to the above question. I believe that when you connect with peers who you have never met, share stories, exchange ideas, listen to progressive structured input, understand growth, read & exercise the mind with what could be instead of what you thought should be, opens up too many windows, not only for here but otherwise too.

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