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Journalism training boss admits unfair trading offences

The former head of a London journalism college which shut down last year has been ordered to compensate a former student after admitting four offences of unfair trading.

Stephen Ward, former chief executive of NoSweat Journalism Training, continued to use the National Council for the Training of Journalists logo on the college’s website after it lost its accreditation.

He pleaded guilty at Highbury Magistrates’ Court to four offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

Islington Council trading standards officers agreed to drop a further charge of fraud against the former college chief.

Ward admitted misusing the NCTJ logo on the college website, misusing NCTJ course material and two offences against named students.

He was given a two-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay compensation of £3,700 to one of the two students.

The NCTJ said in a statement today:  “The NCTJ is pleased that Highbury magistrates have taken this case seriously and that officers from Islington Trading Standards pursued the matter so vigorously.

“The NCTJ is especially pleased by the decision of the court to award compensation to the named students who were duped by Mr Ward.

“Having reviewed the activities of NoSweat in 2011, the NCTJ made it clear to Stephen Ward that he could no longer trade as a training college offering NCTJ courses.

“The NCTJ deplores and regrets the way its reputation was misused by Mr Ward and the effect of his actions on students.”

Councillor Paul Smith, Islington Council’s executive member for environment, said:  “We are on the side of residents so we work hard to make sure that when businesses sell goods and services they are of suitable quality.

“No Sweat Journalism Training students parted with large sums of money thinking their college qualification would have the quality mark that NCTJ accreditation confers. Sadly they have been misled.

“This is a groundbreaking case but Islington Council believes in standing up for young people who are often going into debt to get a job in tough times.”

The NCTJ decided in August 2011 not to renew the college’s accreditation saying it did not fully meet its standards.

NoSweat, which was based in Clerkenwell, North London, went into liquidation in May this year after 13 years of operation.


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  • September 28, 2012 at 11:21 am

    I had the misfortune of attending NoSWeat back in 2007/08 when it was NCTJ accredited. Thankfully, due in the main to my own efforts, I passed all of my pre-entry exams and have been in gainful employment in journalism ever since. A terrible college in my view, thank God it’s no longer with us!

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  • September 30, 2012 at 10:49 am

    NoSweat had two things going for it – flexible hours and location – but it never earned a reputation for producing decent job candidates on a regular basis, it was a sink or swim environment as Chris says.

    The bigger question is how it managed to be accredited for so long, and how so many other college courses offer NCTJ courses when there is no way that the industry, particularly at the moment, will have jobs for more than a handful of these graduates?

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