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Top photojournalism course to be axed after 30 years

A photojournalism course that launched the careers of some of the UK’s best-known press photographers is to be axed after 30 years.

The course, at Norton College, Sheffield, is being discontinued by the college following a round of funding cutbacks for post-16 education.

The decision to axe the course, the only one of its kind in the country, coincides with the forthcoming retirement of the course leader, Paul Delmar.

News of the decision was broken by The Times picture editor Paul Sanders, a member of the National Council for the Training of Journalists’ photographic board.

He wrote on his Facebook page: “Sad day for news photography. The Sheffield NCTJ course is officially dead. Cut because of a lack of funding. The end of an era.”

Paul subsequently confirmed to HTFP that he had been informed of the decision to close the course on Tuesday.

The college has yet to make any public comment on the decision, but the listing for the photojournalism course has been taken down from the journalism section of its website.

The NCTJ has also made no public comment, but it is understood that the organisation is leading efforts to keep the course going at a new venue.

One senior regional press picture editor said: “It’s the end of the course at Norton College Sheffield, but hopefully someone will come forward and give it another home.”

Meanwhile former students are set to organise a farewell bash for Paul, who last year won a lifetime achievement award for his training work.


Cleland Thom (17/06/2010 10:55:01)
What a sad loss – some of the best snappers in the business came from this course.
We can help those who have been let down, though – we run an accredited e-course that covers the same syllabus and leads to the NCTJ photojournalism exams — see

PR (17/06/2010 11:10:59)
Isn’t it about time Cleland Thom started paying for his advertising on HTFP instead of just highjacking stories and sticking links underneath them to further his own business interests! I doubt whether many potential students (i.e. teenagers) for this course even read HTFP so they won’t see his links anyway.

Neil Hodge (17/06/2010 11:29:23)
What a shame – in more ways than one: Paul’s legacy is to go with him, it seems. Good luck with retirement, Paul – you are an inspiration to “little fruit bats” everywhere!

Alex (17/06/2010 11:53:16)
‘Snappers’ ? I called a grizzly old photographer that once. He growled:’I paint with light, laddie. You just fill in the rest of the space with words if you want to keep yer job….’ He made sure I got all the bum jobs in that office for the next three years, too. Can’t say I was too bothered when he went to the Great Darkroom in the sky.

Pete Jenkins (17/06/2010 11:57:58)
Sad day – of course, but inevitable. With newspapers laying off staff, as if it were the only way to make a profit, and with more people qualifying as photographers than there are jobs as for photographers – every year, it is inevitable that course will close.
With no new blood able to come into the industry, and all the old blood going, it is clear that the result, intended or not will be a dead industry. Its already a barely moving corpse.
Pete Jenkins

Trainee Journo (17/06/2010 13:42:15)
NCTJ website a little slow to react; maybe they’re trying to find a new home for this course even as I write this.
Their website’s still advertising the course…

Steve Barber (17/06/2010 14:08:12)
I wish Paul Delmar very best wishes for the future and hope a new venue can be found. Thanks to him, I have enjoyed 23 years as a photographer.

Npic (17/06/2010 14:19:48)
Just to clarify Paul Delmar is not retiring. He is leaving Norton College as part of the staff cuts at the college. As far as I know he intends to keep working within the industry and as such will continue to be a very valuable resource to trainee photographers and hopefully the NCTJ.

Mark Manning (17/06/2010 14:34:07)
A sad day indeed. I would have taken much longer to be a pro snapper if I’d not been on this course.

Neil Barker (17/06/2010 15:11:49)
A very say day when the “University of Delmar” ends. What fun we had back in ‘the good old days’ – especially the Gibraltar trip and gatecrashing Paul’s house in the early hours of the morning!
Pre-entry course, 1987-88.

John Jones (17/06/2010 15:52:08)
I remember a cracking week with Paul in Portugal, circa 1994. His pocket was picked in Porto, returning from a leisurely lunch with some local trainee journos.
Paul seemed to think his pocket getting picked was my fault since I’d suggested using a bus, rather than a taxi.
Paul was/is simply inspirational, despite elevating bull***t to an art form.

MD (18/06/2010 15:39:10)
Just to let you know Paul isn’t retiring he is being made redundant as part of the Sheffield collage cuts. Paul is devastated by the news after over 20 years in the job, but I’m sure he will carry on supporting the industry for many years to come.

MD (18/06/2010 15:43:48)
Just to let you know Paul isn’t retiring he is being made redundant as part of the Sheffield collage cuts. Paul is devastated by the news after over 20 years in the job, but I’m sure he will carry on supporting the industry for many years to come.

Mark Readman (21/06/2010 16:33:46)
The simple truth is there are NO jobs in this industry, more dozens times more people have been laid off than job vacancies advertised.The course has no purpose left, the jobs don’t exist, it’s almost certainly become a vanity only course in a trade which died the day the digital camera was invented

Robin (island) (22/06/2010 14:01:57)
1-0 A very sad day, i have fond memories of Paul and the course, paved out my future and for many others too… A great memory maker, for that i thank you!

PA (14/07/2010 12:25:47)
One wonders if all the photography courses are really justified I went through the NCTJ block release courses back in the late 60s at Wednesbury Sadly very few of us left with real work now