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Disabled journalism student to be denied qualification over lack of shorthand

Kyle GunnA disabled journalism student has been told he will miss out on a qualification at the end of his course because he is unable to take shorthand.

Kyle Gunn, left, who has cerebral palsy, had been told he will walk away without a higher national diploma in practical journalism even if he spends the next two years studying the course at Glasgow Clyde College.

Kyle, 19, says he has been informed of the decision by the Scottish Qualification Authority, which awards the HND.

His lecturers have written to the SQA, asking it to reconsider.

Kyle told the Glasgow Evening Times: “I’ve been told that I can do the course but I will not be able to come away with a qualification as I’m unable to complete the shorthand section.

“I already do a lot of my work electronically, so I don’t understand why there is such a big issue about this. I know a lot of other journalists and some have said they don’t have shorthand.

“It’s not that I am unable to learn it, this is something I cannot help. Journalism is something that I really want to do. It seems really unfair that I would study for a HND for two years and not come away with the qualification.”

An SQA spokesman said: “We do not discuss individual candidates or their circumstances.”


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  • August 21, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    He should move to a college which offers the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism.

    He can achieve that without shorthand.

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  • August 22, 2017 at 8:51 am

    It’s shocking with the technology around today that this cannot be worked around. Can’t remember when I last saw a press conference without the majority of reporters using electronic devices rather than notepad and pen. Come on SQA, you’re better than this.

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  • August 22, 2017 at 11:37 am

    Have a look round your newsroom. How many hacks have good shorthand. Without e mail quotes some would be stuffed.

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  • August 22, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    I am interested to read of Kyle’s experiences, as I am in a similar situation, having cerebral palsy. I have three decades of experience of journalism, mainly in Ireland but also in London, I was back in Ireland and made redundant there in the economic crash, had planned to return to London six years ago but was unable to do so due to lack of housing. As a result, I came to Liverpool and sought to use it as a base to seek work all over the country, but found that the regionals, unlike London titles, insisted on NCTJ and did not recognize Irish experience. On top of that, I found that some specifically made clear they could not employ me due to my having cerebral palsy, and claimed that a judge would have to be able to read my notes, which does not make sense with modern technology. Even though the NCTJ will no doubt claim they make reasonable adjustments, they do not accept notes written with the actual letters of the alphabet.

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  • August 22, 2017 at 4:14 pm

    The finest hacks I ever knew never had the NCTJ. It’s not the be-all. Blag your way in, son, you’ll be a better man for it. Good luck.

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