Trailblazer junior journalist apprenticeship approved by government

An apprenticeship standard and assessment plan for junior journalists developed by employers in the media industry and the NCTJ is ready to be implemented across England as part of the government’s ‘trailblazer’ apprenticeship programme.

The standard for a junior journalist and accompanying assessment plan have been approved by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and are now ready to be implemented by employers and training providers.

The NCTJ convened a cross-section of employers from the regional and national press, broadcasters and magazine employers to develop the new standard. It covers the core journalism skills for all sectors, as well as specialist skills for newspapers, broadcasters, magazines, public relations and corporate communications.

The government will contribute to the cost of training each apprentice up to a maximum cap of £8000. There are additional financial incentives available to employers and bonuses for successful completion of the apprenticeship programme.

Journalism employers, including Archant, the BBC, BSkyB, Haymarket Media Group, The Independent, ITN, Johnston Press, the KM Group, London Evening Standard, Mark Allen Group, and Newsquest, assisted by the NCTJ, have designed the apprenticeship standard for a junior journalist that will deliver the quality skills apprentices need to achieve excellence in the workplace. Apprentices on the scheme must complete the level three NCTJ Diploma in Journalism qualification as well as a final work-related project.

The trailblazer group, established by employers and chaired by David Rowell, head of editorial training and development at Johnston Press, has been working on the project since March 2014 when it was announced that journalism would be part of the government’s trailblazer scheme to create national standards for apprenticeships in England, ensuring they are more rigorous and responsive to the needs of employers. The new standard is available now and supercedes the current apprenticeship scheme successfully piloted by the NCTJ in partnership with Lambeth College. An apprenticeship will take a minimum of 18 months to complete.

David Rowell, chairman of the trailblazer apprenticeship group, said: “We are very pleased that we have been able to develop a qualification that can be used by all sectors of the media without the bureaucracy of previous initiatives. This new standard, driven by employers, ensures that journalism apprentices will gain multiplatform skills and be trained to the industry standard.”

Roz McKenzie, head of journalism at Lambeth College, said: “The new standard and assessment plan for junior journalists makes it easier for employers and training providers to work together, with more government funding available to employers and a more rigorous training programme for apprentices.”

A higher-level apprenticeship standard for journalists is also being developed, providing another entry point into the industry and a progression route from the level three apprenticeship. This standard is due to be submitted to BIS for approval in June.

The full apprenticeship standard for journalism is available to view here