A new system of apprenticeships could be set up in a bid to widen access into journalism after claims that it has become “socially exclusive.”
The profession was singled out for criticism by the former Cabinet minister Alan Milburn in his recent report on social mobility.
Now the National Council for the Training of Journalists is helping devise an apprenticeships scheme in a bid to tackle the problem.
Speaking at the NCTJ’s Journalism Skills Conference, editorial training consultant Paul Watson said the aim was to provide a “new route into journalism” which would enable recruitment from a wider demographic.
He said: “Editors and managers are becoming very keen that their newsrooms should reflect the areas they serve. The current way of recruiting isn’t necessarily doing that.”
The apprenticeships would be partly government-funded and would be typically aimed at 16-19-year-olds at school or further education colleges, community correspondents and hyperlocal publishers.
Apprentices would be paid the minimum wage and would take an exam called the Foundationn Certificate which would be based loosely on the current NCTJ Diploma in Journalism.
However the NCTJ is stressing that journalists would still require the ‘gold standard’ National Certificate Examination to become qualified.