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Training Matters: NCTJ apprentice visits Number 10

In 2013, the NCTJ launched the Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship in Journalism, which is being piloted by Archant, the BBC, i, The Independent, The Independent on Sunday, the KM Group and London Evening Standard. Lambeth College is delivering the off-the-job training.

The 11 apprentices who began the scheme in September 2013 work four days a week and attend college once a week to learn reporting, media law, public affairs and shorthand.

And last week – National Apprenticeship Week – the government announced that journalism employers, together with the NCTJ, would be participating in phase two of their new trailblazer apprenticeship scheme, which aims to simplify systems, empower employers and achieve excellence in the workplace.

Dan Wright, editorial apprentice at the KM Group, represented journalism apprentices at a reception for the trailblazers at 10 Downing Street on Thursday, 6 March, along with HR and learning director Amanda Watts, who represented employers. Below, Dan, 19, recounts what it was like to get a peek behind the black door.

To mark National Apprenticeships Week, I was delighted to swap my KM Group office for Number 10 on Thursday. My role as the KM Group’s editorial apprentice is always varied and my big day out inside Downing Street was no different.

I was in central London to represent the NCTJ journalism apprentices – something I was very proud to do, considering I only started in the scheme last September.

Since my invite to the special reception arrived from Prime Minister David Cameron, I’d been looking forward to not just seeing Downing Street, but actually seeing what’s behind the famous black door.

Despite the PM’s absence – he was diverted to Brussels for an emergency EU meeting about the Ukraine crisis – it was a very memorable day spent with the KM Group’s Amanda Watts.

I rubbed shoulders with Chancellor George Osborne – who gave a speech on the value of the training – and met apprentices from across the country.

It was great to see apprenticeships getting the recognition they deserve in such an important place, and to share my experiences with fellow apprentices from different walks of life, from engineering to catering.

Away from apprenticeship talk, the house, as expected, is very fancy, but not as much as the apprentice-prepared food: goat’s cheese and beetroot in a bite-size wafer was a new experience!

And meeting one of Downing Street’s famous felines ended the day nicely. Thursday 6 March 2014 is a day I’ll always remember.

Dan Wright of the KM Group at 10 Downing Street. Picture by KM Group.