NCTJ Awards for Excellence sponsored by NFL UK open for entries

The NCTJ Awards for Excellence are open for entries from students and trainee journalists across the UK, with NFL UK confirming their sponsorship for a second year.

The awards recognise and reward the best journalism students completing NCTJ courses and journalists with less than two years' experience in the industry. For the first time, the awards are being opened to those studying the Diploma in Journalism by distance learning and the trainee category will be widened to include those with less than two years’ employment in any sector of journalism who have completed the Diploma in Journalism. 

The awards continue to be free to enter and shortlisted candidates will be invited to the Journalism Skills Conference gala dinner and awards ceremony in November as guests of the NCTJ and NFL UK.

The categories for students and trainees are: 
•    news journalism
•    sports journalism
•    top scoop/exclusive
•    features of the year
•    multimedia story/campaign of the year

There is a student project of the year category for NCTJ-accredited course providers to submit a student project (newspaper, magazine, website, or broadcast package) which has been produced between September 2014 and August 2015.

There are two performance awards: the student journalist of the year, awarded to the best-performing student based on preliminary exam results and references, and trainee journalist of the year, awarded to the best-performing trainee in the National Qualification in Journalism (NQJ). There is no call for entries for these two awards, as they are based on exam results. 

A new award, NCTJ apprentice of the year, has been created for 2015. NCTJ apprenticeship training providers and employers are invited to nominate individuals who were doing an NCTJ apprenticeship at any time between September 2014 and August 2015.

Finally, nominations are welcome for the NCTJ chairman's award, which recognises an individual’s outstanding contribution to high standards of journalism training. Nominations are invited, in no more than 500 words, on why the individual is worthy of this award. He or she could be an editor, a tutor or anyone who has made a meaningful impact on the training of journalists. Recent recipients have included Paul Durrant, David Kett, David Rowell, and Amanda Ball.

Joanne Butcher, NCTJ chief executive, said: “We have made a number of changes to the awards this year to reward the work of our apprentices and reflect the diverse range of journalism jobs that NCTJ alumni are going into. 

“An increased contribution from NFL UK has made it possible for all shortlisted candidates to attend the awards dinner for the first time. This generous contribution will help to make the awards bigger and better than ever.”

David Tossell, director of European public affairs for NFL International, said: “We’re very pleased to be sponsoring the awards for another year. As the NFL continues to gain popularity in the UK, we’re looking forward to working with the NCTJ and raising awareness of American football among student and trainee reporters.”

Students and trainees can enter via the student login section of the NCTJ website and all submissions are free of charge. Work entered must have been produced during the period 1 September 2014 to 31 August 2015.

All entries should be sent to the NCTJ before 5pm on Friday, 18 September 2015. Full details of submission guidelines and competition rules are available on our website.