Meet the team

The NCTJ has a dedicated team of staff based in a converted granary in the North Essex village of Newport, near Saffron Walden.

Everyone at the NCTJ is passionate about high standards of journalism, and is committed to the organisation’s values. We also employ examiners and rely on volunteers who are committed to professional journalism and our charitable activities.

Find out more about us below, including contact details and information on who to contact for which subjects. For general enquiries, please email info@nctj.com.

Laura Adams

Head of the Journalism Skills Academy

Laura Adams

Head of the Journalism Skills Academy

Laura started at the NCTJ in September 2022. In 2008 she joined Archant as deputy editor of the Ham & High and became editor of the Barking and Dagenham Post in 2010. Since then, she has held editorial director roles before becoming director of content development in 2021.

Laura completed her NCTJ training at Cardiff University and her first journalism job in 2002 was trainee reporter at the Rhondda Leader.

She also held the position of vice chair of the NCTJ between 2014-2022.

E-mail: laura.adams@nctj.com

Nikki Akinola

Senior diversity and inclusion co-ordinator

Nikki Akinola

Senior diversity and inclusion co-ordinator

Before joining the NCTJ, Nikki worked at Reed Learning as a learning and development coordinator for eight years.

She has extensive knowledge of training delivery and adult learning and has worked in the industry for 15 years in various sectors including sales, construction and business skills.

Nikki is responsible for the administration of the Journalism Diversity Fund and supports the NCTJ’s wider work in equality, diversity and inclusion.

Phone: 01799 544942

E-mail: nikki.akinola@nctj.com

Franki Berry

Communications manager

Franki Berry

Communications manager

Franki joined the NCTJ in July 2023 as communications manager.

She previously worked for Archant on various local newspapers across Hertfordshire, Essex and London. Starting her career as a trainee reporter in 2016, Franki worked her way up the ranks over seven years to become the editor of five titles in 2021. Franki also spent six months as a digital reporter on a trade publication for the travel industry from 2019 to 2020.

NQJ-qualified journalist Franki completed her initial NCTJ Diploma in Journalism on a fast-track course in south London, having graduated with a combined honours bachelor’s degree in history and publishing media from Oxford Brookes University.

 

Phone: 01799 544944

E-mail: frances.berry@nctj.com

Claudia Caiafa

Senior platform and product co-ordinator

Claudia Caiafa

Senior platform and product co-ordinator

Claudia join the NCTJ in March 2023 as Senior Platform and Product Co-ordinator

After graduating from Anglia Ruskin university in business management, she began her career in the marketing sector and then started gradually moving over into the digital and web development roles

Claudia is responsible for the development of e-learning content on the Journalism Skills Academy, the administration of the NCTJ website and supports internal projects and software.

Phone: 01799 544947

Email: claudia.caiafa@nctj.com

Natalie Coleman

Quality and standards manager

Natalie Coleman

Quality and standards manager

Natalie joined the NCTJ in September 2022 and is responsible for NCTJ accreditation and centre approvals, ensuring our centres and their courses are of a high standard. She manages the day-to-day running of the accreditation and centre approvals process, which includes monitoring the on-going performance of centres against the NCTJ’s accreditation performance standards and centre approval conditions.

Natalie previously worked for an education charity, as quality assurance lead, working with STEM industry partners to inspire and provide opportunities to young people seeking careers in the STEM sector. She managed the quality assurance of their accreditation and awards. She has a wealth of experience in quality assurance, having worked in a variety of roles throughout her career at the Metropolitan Police Service, working on developing and implementing robust processes, and quality benchmarking in-line with corporate policies and procedures.

Phone: 01799 611261

Emailnatalie.coleman@nctj.com

Tom Dixon-Ramsey

Head of finance & IT

Tom Dixon-Ramsey

Head of finance & IT

Tom joined the NCTJ in January 2024 as Head of Finance and IT and is responsible for the financial and technology functions of the NCTJ.

He begun his career in social housing and qualified as an ACCA accountant in 2014.

Before joining the NCTJ, Tom worked as Finance Director for a social care provider who provided residential care for adults with learning disabilities and challenging behaviour and completed a MSc in Professional Accountancy.

 

Phone: 01799 544934
Email: Tom.dixon-ramsey@nctj.com

Joanne Butcher

Joanne Forbes

Chief executive

Joanne Butcher

Joanne Forbes

Chief executive

Joanne is our chief executive who has led the charity through radical change, notably to its qualifications, accreditation scheme, training provision, careers service and governance. She has extended and strengthened the organisation’s role and influence across the media and has developed the NCTJ’s charitable activities and impact, notably the Journalism Diversity Fund, the Community News Project and its research programme.

After graduating from the University of Exeter with a degree in history, Joanne began her career in marketing and moved into her first training role at the Newspaper Society. She then worked at the Professional Publishers Association as director of the Periodicals Training Council. Before joining the NCTJ, Joanne was chief executive of the Publishing National Training Organisation.

Email: joanne.forbes@nctj.com

Will Gore

Will Gore

Head of partnerships and projects

Will Gore

Will Gore

Head of partnerships and projects

Having worked in the media sector for nearly two decades, Will joined the NCTJ in June 2019, with particular responsibility for the oversight of partnerships and projects. He worked for ESI Media between 2011 and 2019, first as deputy managing editor across the group’s Independent and Evening Standard titles, then as executive editor for The Independent. He began his career in 2000 as a complaints officer at the Press Complaints Commission, subsequently becoming assistant director, then director of external & public affairs. Before that he studied modern history at the University of Oxford.

Phone: 01799 544930

E-mail: will.gore@nctj.com

Nicky Hudson

Senior client relationship co-ordinator

Nicky Hudson

Senior client relationship co-ordinator

Nicky joined the NCTJ in January 2023 following a period working in Community Mental Health services within the NHS. Prior to this he worked in financial publishing for over 10 years with Incisive Media, on titles such as Risk, Post and Legal Week, where he managed the cessation of print titles to digital-only audiences.

Nicky is the senior client relationship co-ordinator, working with NCTJ’s corpoate clients focusing on their specifc training needs via the Journalism Skills Academy.

Phone: 01799 544940

E-mail: nicky.hudson@nctj.com

Lyn Jones

Head of qualifications

Lyn Jones

Head of qualifications

Lyn joined the NCTJ in November 2004 and is responsible for implementing our qualifications strategy, standards, and developing new qualifications to reflect the evolving skills required of journalists.

Lyn is also responsible for regulation and compliance with Ofqual, Qualifications Wales and CCEA general conditions. She manages the Journalism Qualifications Board, co-ordinates the work of our subject exam boards and oversees the implementation of quality assurance procedures and standards in relation to all qualifications. Lyn previously worked for an educational publisher and has managed a professional management training centre.

Phone: 01799 544939
Email: lyn.jones@nctj.com

Helen Kenny

Assessment administrator

Helen Kenny

Assessment administrator

Helen joined the NCTJ in March 2024 and is responsible for providing administrative support for the Diploma in Journalism and Certificate in Foundation Journalism qualification.

Previously Helen worked for the Civil Service and has a degree in History from the University in Exeter.

 

Phone: 01799 544941

Email: Helen.kenny@nctj.com

Rachel Manby

Head of awarding

Rachel Manby

Head of awarding

Rachel joined the NCTJ in March 2017 and is responsible for overseeing the work of the NCTJ exams team, led by our assessment manager, and chief examiners to ensure the efficient administration and delivery of all NCTJ assessments.

Rachel is the chief point of contact for our awarding organisation regulators and is responsible for the NCTJ’s overall compliance with the recognition conditions regarding our qualifications, standards, public confidence and accessibility. She oversees the recruitment and training of NCTJ examiners/assessors, the monitoring of NCTJ-accredited centres, investigating and reporting on incidents of malpractice/maladministration, and ensuring high levels of quality assurance and standards, including particular needs and equal opportunities.

Rachel previously worked at a speech and drama awarding organisation in London as qualifications manager.

Phone: 01799 544935

E-mail: rachel.manby@nctj.com

Laura Pilling

Project manager

Laura Pilling

Project manager

Laura joined the NCTJ in September 2022, taking on the role of project manager for the Community News Project. This is a Meta-funded project to help increase journalism coverage in underserved areas and a huge part of this involves employing and training community news reporters across the country.

Laura is the point of contact for journalists, employers and training providers and co-ordinates the various aspects of this project.

Prior to working at the NCTJ, Laura was a primary and Spanish teacher as well as a virtual assistant.

Emaillaura.pilling@nctj.com

Alison Puttock

Assessment manager

Alison Puttock

Assessment manager

Alison joined the NCTJ in May 2016 after relocating from West Sussex, where she worked as a finance administrator. Before this Alison’s career background was in childcare.

Alison is responsible for the Diploma in Journalism exam papers, marking and results, certification and aggregate results in addition to maladministration and appeals.

Phone: 01799 544935

E-mail: alison.puttock@nctj.com

Emma Richens

Assessment co-ordinator

Emma Richens

Assessment co-ordinator

Emma joined the NCTJ in August 2022 and is responsible for coordinating the Diploma in Journalism, e-Portfolio, certification and National Exams.

Prior to joining the NCTJ, Emma worked in retail for more than 20 years in various sectors – a UK clothing brand, home furnishing company, toy store and petrol stations. Through this, she gained vast knowledge and experience of management, leadership and customer service skills.

Sarah Rix

Head of marketing and communications

Sarah Rix

Head of marketing and communications

Sarah joined the NCTJ in June 2017 and is responsible for the NCTJ’s marketing and communications.

Since joining the charity as marketing and communications executive, Sarah became manager in 2019 before joining the senior management team in 2021.

Sarah particularly enjoys working on schemes such as the Community News Project and Journalism Diversity Fund, and is passionate about encouraging people from all walks of life into journalism careers.

Sarah has a first-class degree in publishing, journalism and media. Before joining the NCTJ, Sarah worked for an independent magazine publisher and events organiser.

Phone: 01799 544947

E-mail: sarah.rix@nctj.com

Ellen Sanderson

Senior Assessment and Apprenticeship Co-ordinator

Ellen Sanderson

Senior Assessment and Apprenticeship Co-ordinator

Ellen joined the NCTJ in July 2021 and is responsible for co-ordinating the National Qualification in Journalism, shorthand and overseeing all apprenticeship administration including end point assessments.

She has a degree in forensic science from the University of Lincoln.

Phone: 01799 544943

Email: ellen.sanderson@nctj.com

Rachel Slater

Events and training co-ordinator

Rachel Slater

Events and training co-ordinator

Rachel joined the NCTJ in October 2022 and is responsible for planning, administrative and logistical support for NCTJ events as well as co-ordinating the Journalism Skills Academy distance learning programmes.

Before joining the NCTJ, Rachel was a front office manager at Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa and has spent majority of her career working in hospitality earning her extensive knowledge of customer service and people management.

Rachel is originally from the United States of America and moved to England in September 2020. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business management at the University of Wisconsin- Oshkosh.

Sophie Talbot

Finance officer and administrator

Sophie Talbot

Finance officer and administrator

Sophie joined the NCTJ in June 2021 and is responsible for supporting the head of finance.

Previously she has worked in the charity sector, at the Children’s Society and Emerging Markets, and while living abroad in Poland she worked as a copy editor for a bilingual property magazine. She also studied economics and politics at Bath University.

Phone: 01799 544936

Emailsophie.talbot@nctj.com

Subject Staff member Contact
Accreditation Natalie Coleman 01799 611261
Apprenticeships Exams Team 01799 544938
Careers advice All staff 01799 544014
Community News Project Laura Pilling 01799544933
Diploma in Journalism Alison Puttock 01799544935
Distance learning, CPD courses, events Rachel Slater 01799544932
Exam bookings, e-portfolio, national exams Emma Richens 01799544945
Exam schedule, approved exam centres, appeals, suspected malpractice and maladministration Rachel Manby 01799 544935
Finance, accounts payable and IT Tom Dixon-Ramsey 01799 544934
Journalism Diversity Fund, reasonable adjustments, equality, diversity and inclusion Nikki Akinola 01799 544942
Journalism Skills Academy Laura Adams 01799 611260
Journalism Skills Academy, IT and systems Claudia Caiafa 01799 544947
Marketing and communications, press enquiries Sarah Rix 01799 544937
National Qualification in Journalism, shorthand, apprenticeships Ellen Sanderson 01799 544943
Partnerships and projects Will Gore 01799 544930
Exam bookings and assessments Helen Kenny 01799 544941
Qualifications, syllabus Lyn Jones 01799 544939

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