NUJ backs new senior journalist apprenticeship

  • 23 Jun 2020

The union, in its News Recovery Plan, has called for apprenticeships to play a role in providing more diverse routes into journalism.

The NUJ has welcomed a new apprenticeship for senior journalists.

A group of employers from all sectors of the media, assisted by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ), designed the senior level standard to reflect the wide range of skills and knowledge required by journalists across all platforms. It has now been approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education.

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:

"The NUJ has called in our News Recovery Plan for more diverse routes into journalism, and this apprenticeship will be one way of achieving that. It should attract those who are worried about racking up student debts or prefer the more hands-on opportunity that quality apprenticeships offer.
"Research has shown journalism to be one of the most 'socially exclusive' professions in the UK and apprenticeships such as this can play a key part in improving diversity in newsrooms which have become overwhelmingly white and middle class. Doing that successfully, of course, also means ensuring that apprenticeships are followed by quality jobs and progression in the workplace."

The standard for a senior journalist and accompanying assessment plan will be ready to use by employers and training providers once the Secretary of State for Education has approved the funding band. Funding for training and assessment costs is expected to be set at a limit of £14,000 per apprentice.

The Level 7 senior journalist apprenticeship takes at least 18 months to complete and provides a structure for progression from the well-established junior journalist apprenticeship and the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism. All journalists registered for the new apprenticeship must achieve the industry's professional senior qualification, the NCTJ's National Qualification in Journalism (NQJ), as well as the apprenticeship.

Daniell Morrisey, senior editorial early careers schemes manager at the BBC, said:

"As well as offering a structured route into the BBC, this standard may also create career development opportunities for existing BBC staff."

Toby Granville, editorial development director for Newsquest, who chaired the project, said:

"As well as supporting graduate entry, this new programme will also take school leavers with no formal journalism training or needing any kind of degree on a journey from trainee to NQJ-qualified senior. I hope this will succeed in removing some of the barriers in bringing more diversity into the industry."

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