Mirror Group Newspapers has withdrawn the sponsorship of two places on its prestigious graduate training scheme due to start in August.
And the January intake is also looking in doubt after shortlisted students were told they were not required for interview this week.
Mirror Group Newspapers – which is owned by Trinity Mirror – funds two students on the Press Association’s journalism course, in Newcastle, where they study and write for its north-east titles The Journal and Evening Chronicle.
Graduates then gain experience in the company’s Belfast and Dublin offices and could eventually land a job on national titles The Mirror, Sunday Mirror and The People.
Khudael Ashraf, 21, has just graduated from the University of Bedfordshire’s journalism degree and was shortlisted for interview on the scheme.
He told HoldtheFrontPage: “I am absolutely gutted. I have been applying for other jobs but I was hoping this training scheme would have been my big break, had I been given the job.
“What hurts more is that I found out I got a first for my degree and I was hoping to make it a double celebration but the champers has been put on ice.
“I’ve been applying to various other jobs but none of them ask for your portfolio of work.
“Trinity Mirror did and I believe that it was my published work – local and national – that secured me the interview.
“I’m waiting to hear from The Guardian because I applied for their trainee sports reporter position but losing out on the Mirror scheme was still a big blow.”
A Trinity Mirror spokesman confirmed the company had withdrawn its sponsorship but could not elaborate further on the reason behind the decision.
He added that other student places sponsored by Trinity Mirror would continue as normal.
A spokesperson for Press Association Training said: “Our course goes ahead as planned starting on August 26.”
Lionel Messi (01/07/2008 09:52:43)
Congratulations Khudael on using this sad day for your own brazen self-promotion.
You’ll go far
Anthony Casey (30/07/2008 01:42:33)
It happens – and it happened to me when I was a would-be trainee. All I can say is that there are other routes; keep annoying editors, and one of them will give you the starting job you need. It worked for me and 12 years on I still love the industry. Good luck.