Northcliffe Newspapers has set up its first Journalism Training Academy.
Staff on the group’s south-west titles will now be trained in-house, cutting out the need for trainees to travel for block release courses when studying for the National Certificate Examination and preliminary exams.
It will also run a variety of short, intensive courses for senior staff as well as trainees, including news editing, subbing, reporters’ masterclasses and law refreshers.
Some courses will also be run from Torquay and Exeter, and will be open to staff on the WMN, Plymouth Herald, Exeter Express and Echo, Torquay Herald Express, The Cornishman, Cornish Guardian, West Briton, North Devon Journal, Tiverton Gazette and Western Gazette.
The initiative is headed up by Northcliffe’s South West editorial director Alan Qualtrough and Torquay Herald Express editor Andy Phelan.
Alan said: “Northcliffe is determined to have a skilled workforce which can respond to our changing needs.
“In the past training has been fragmented and been done on an ad hoc basis with each newspaper going its own way. The academy will allow us to concentrate our resources at a local level and do far more training than has ever been done before in the West Country.
“David and Andy spent a considerable amount of time earlier this year planning the academy and it has been given the full backing of the main Northcliffe board.”
Andy said the academy could be extended after a year, and could also offer web and video courses as well as training for staff at other newspaper groups.
He said: “By using our own in-office facilities we can do far more training and ensure that journalists who join our company are given a training programme which will enhance their skills throughout their careers and enable them to become the editors of the future.
“We are fortunate David lives on our patch and he has brought with him all the expertise he has built up over the last 18 years since he set up his own training company. It saved us starting from scratch.”
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