Joy for two photographers who passed first NCE exams held at The New Granary

A press photographer and a photojournalist have each passed their National Certificate Examination which was held for the first time at the NCTJ’s offices in Newport, Essex.

Aisling McGill, a press photographer at Trinity Mirror Southern, and Ceri Oakes, a photojournalist at the Whitby Gazette, sat the exam on Tuesday, 24 May.

They were the first candidates to do so at The New Granary in Newport, with previous NCE’s for photographers and photojournalists taking place at Sheffield College, Norton.

Steve Phillips, the NCTJ’s chief examiner for photography, and picture editor at the South Wales Evening Post, led the exams under the supervision of another board member, Paul Sanders, picture editor at The Times.

Steve said the examiners were delighted with the performance of the two candidates, who were sitting the NCE exam for the first time.

“We were very pleased to see both Aisling and Ceri pass first time, and pass well. The standard of work was very high and the board were impressed with what they saw,” he said.

There are five sections to the NCE for photographers and photojournalists. On the day of the exam is the practical, which includes an action shot and feature section, while the advance project, portfolio, video report and logbook components are all completed prior to this.

The practical exam began with the action shot. Candidates were given a brief about pets being mistreated by an unknown member of the local neighbourhood. A resident in the area had invited her local newspaper to send a photographer to her street and possibly photograph the person.

Both Aisling and Ceri got their shot of someone putting a cat in a bin – replicating a national news story from last year.

Their next test was the feature section. Aisling and Ceri were provided with a model and props to create a feature spread about a person who had won a place on the televised stage of a Masterchef-type programme called ‘Pro-Chef’. The prize for the winning chef was a chance to work at The Ritz in London.

The photographers’ creativity and imagination were put to the test to fill a front page and provide three inside images to fit a given template.

Aisling and Ceri both demonstrated the gold standard of work needed to achieve the qualification and were told of their success on Wednesday, 1 June.