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Former supermarket delivery driver shortlisted for two journalism awards

Albert-Tait-600x485A self-confessed “university drop-out” who was working as a supermarket delivery driver less than a year ago has been shortlisted for two national awards after the community news project helped him get into journalism.

Albert Tait, 20, joined the weekly Henley Standard in South Oxfordshire in April after deciding that university wasn’t for him.

He has now been shortlisted in the Top Scoop category of the NCTJ Awards for Excellence as well as for the Community News Project award.

Albert, pictured, was the Standard’s first community news reporter, a role introduced as part of a partnership with the NCTJ and Facebook owner Meta to increase the diversity of UK newsrooms.

He said: “I am so pleased to be shortlisted for the awards and it is the proudest moment of my journalism career so far.

“Less than a year ago, I was a university dropout working as a supermarket delivery driver, with no qualifications or experience in journalism.

“Through Meta’s community news project, I was able to get a job as a reporter at the Henley Standard, a newspaper I had grown up reading.

“Each day since then has been different and interesting, both in terms of the stories I cover and the people I meet – whether it is photographing a Hollywood movie, interviewing an MP, or reporting on a rowing race from the back of an umpire’s launch.

“I feel lucky to work with such a talented group of reporters, and I am incredibly grateful to my editors Phil and Simon for the support and guidance they have given me over the last 10 months. It is a pleasure to come to work each day.”

“You get so used to telling other people’s stories in journalism that it is odd when the spotlight shifts towards you, but nevertheless, it is nice to be recognised for your hard work.”

Albert is currently studying for the Level 5 NCTJ Diploma at Darlington College one day a week, which includes modules in media law and shorthand.

A former Standard reporter, Georgia Harland, who completed the senior National Qualification in Journalism at the paper before moving on to a daily newspaper, has also been shortlisted for Trainee of the Year.

A total of 444 entries were received across 17 categories for the annual industry awards from across the UK, from regional as well as national media titles. The winners are announced in March.

The Standard is currently looking to recruit a new reporter and is inviting applicants with a view to starting as soon as possible. The role is being advertised on HTFP here.