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Training chief admits ‘oversupply’ of students

The chief executive of the National Council for the Training of Journalists has admitted there are too many would-be entrants seeking careers in journalism.

Joanne Butcher told a session at the Society of Editors conference there was an ‘oversupply’ of potential new entrants into the industry – but she said a higher proportion of them had the ‘gold standard’ of NCTJ qualifications.

She said: “These are difficult times and the age of austerity is upon us. We are conscious that we have moved from an undersupply to an oversupply of new entrants.”

Joanne was speaking after an earlier session in which Press and Journal editor Derek Tucker blasted the state of journalism training.

In response to a question about whether there were too many journalism courses, she said the NCTJ worked with 38 courses which provided a variety of routes into journalism.

Joanne said: “There were 400-500 entrants a few years ago, 200 coming out with the gold standard so editors had to employ journalists who didn’t have the gold standard but that has been halved in the last few years with the changes in the industry.”

She said there were three important principles to train tomorrow’s journalists in – being able to find and tell stories accurately and to deadline, gaining new multimedia skills and ensuring essential skills were covered but with the flexibility to specialise.

Joanne revealed the NCTJ was planning a major project to review the NCE, which she said had been through many changes since its introduction in 1990.

She added: “We will be doing research and running focus groups to get feedback on the current scheme to find out how it needs to evolve for the future.”