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Training Matters: An apprenticeship update

As a new cohort of journalism apprentices begin their employment and training, NCTJ marketing and communications manager Lisa Nelson gives an update on the latest developments.

There has been a big increase in the uptake of journalism apprenticeships following the success of the pilot scheme launched in September 2013.

A total of 68 apprentices began NCTJ journalism apprenticeships with newspaper, magazine, broadcast and online employers in September and October this year.

Archant London, the BBC and the KM Group, companies involved in the pilot project, have recruited additional apprentices. The regional newspaper groups already have one apprentice each who are due to complete their apprenticeships in 2015.

New employers to the programme include Archant Kent, the Mark Allen Group, Haymarket, MNA Media, Sky Sports News, the South East Farmer, Telegraph Media Group and Uni’s Not For Me, an online resource company. City of Wolverhampton College, Darlington College and Lambeth College will be the training providers, preparing the apprentices to complete the apprenticeship qualification and the industry-standard NCTJ Diploma in Journalism exams.

BBC local radio has recruited 46 young people from across the UK taking part in a block release programme in partnership with City of Wolverhampton College. MNA apprentices will be trained on the same programme.

The journalism apprenticeships are not designed to replace our accredited courses run by universities, colleges and independent providers, but to widen the entry route into the profession and allow employers access to a diverse range of talent from their communities. Apprentices can earn while they learn at college and on the job.

Since March 2014, a group of employers chaired by David Rowell, head of editorial learning and development at Johnston Press, and assisted by the NCTJ, has been involved in the government’s trailblazer scheme. The initiative is designed to create national standards for apprenticeships in England, so that they are more rigorous and responsive to the needs of employers.

The apprenticeship standard for a junior journalist apprenticeship was approved and published in August and will come into effect in 2015, updating the current NCTJ apprenticeship qualification.

Most recently in October, journalism employers had their application for a higher-level apprenticeship approved as part of phase three of the government’s trailblazer initiative. The proposed senior journalist apprenticeship will be the first higher-level apprenticeship developed for journalists and it will offer a progression route for qualified junior journalist apprentices. Work is now beginning on developing a new standard so no doubt there will be more developments in the year ahead.

If you are an employer interested in the apprenticeship scheme, please contact Lyn Jones, head of qualifications, NCTJ.