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Training Matters: Priorities for the NCTJ in 2016

joanneIn this week’s blog, NCTJ chief executive Joanne Butcher, left, sets out some of the charity’s activities for the coming year.


January is a time to reflect on the year ahead. So – in keeping with this tradition – we wanted to share some of the changes and new projects you can expect to see taking place over the next 12 months.

With the digital revolution and consequent demand for new knowledge and skills dominating so much of our work in 2015, and which is continuing this year, we will see some of the effects of this work.

Significant changes are being made to the structure and content of our qualifications. The outcome of the much-debated Diploma in Journalism review will start to come into effect later this year and a similar review of the National Qualification in Journalism isn’t far behind.

The diploma consultation period remains open until Friday, 15 January and the supporting documents are available here – if you are interested in giving feedback on the proposals, please email your response to us. The plans will be finalised in March and changes will start to be introduced from September.

There will also be important changes to the way our qualifications are delivered. We are investing in a two-year project to transfer our paper-based examinations to an online format for delivery and assessment.

This move to online e-assessments and pre-recorded shorthand exams will help ensure NCTJ assessments are more secure and equitable. We hope to improve our exam operations and the speed of our results service.

In our commitment to continuing professional development, we are pleased to be partnering with Google News Lab to deliver a digital journalism workshop on 2 March in London. This free event will cover the latest online tools, investigative journalism techniques and fact-checking advice. Anyone interested in attending this workshop can register by emailing kimberley.holland@nctj.com.

Google UK is also hosting this year’s Student Council on 6 February. Representatives from NCTJ-accredited courses across the UK will have the opportunity to discuss their training with NCTJ alumni, employers and senior staff.

Research reports to be published this year include a review of the freelance journalism market, an assessment of higher education graduate job destinations and information about the quality assurance and standards of our qualifications. Look out for the 23rd edition of McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists which is on track for publication by Oxford University Press in June.

Following recent celebrations of ten years of the Journalism Diversity Fund, we are busy developing a new diversity strategy. There is much more work to be done to tackle diversity issues and we have recruited one of the industry’s most respected diversity experts, Abu Bundu-Kamara, to set our agenda and challenging targets.

So we have a busy 12 months ahead of us with potentially significant changes on the horizon and we are looking forward to working with the industry to advance the journalism training agenda.