It is now possible to undertake a journalist apprenticeship training scheme at both junior and senior levels.

An apprenticeship is aimed at those who want to develop a career in journalism by combining off-the-job learning with on-the-job training. It is a professional, vocational training scheme that doesn’t compromise on the exacting standards that are vital in modern newsrooms. 

Apprenticeship standards for a junior journalist and a senior journalist both include an industry-recognised qualification: the Diploma in Journalism in the junior journalist standard and the National Qualification in Journalism (NQJ) in the senior journalist standard. These qualifications must be gained by an apprentice to take a final assessment and complete the apprenticeship.

NOTE: The junior journalist standard is due to be replaced by an updated Level 5 Journalist apprenticeship standard. This will include the Level 5 Diploma in Journalism.


The apprenticeship standard for a junior journalist is an industry-designed training scheme offering a career path into journalism.

It includes a recommended training period of 18 months, during which time apprentices must complete the NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism before progressing to the apprenticeship’s end-point assessment (EPA).

The EPA consists of a work-related project and an assessment of an apprentice's qualities/behaviours. This assessment is completed during the final six weeks of the apprenticeship programme. The NCTJ is an end-point assessment organisation (EPAO) approved by the Education and Skills Funding Agency to deliver the end-point assessment for this standard.

Former journalism apprentice with the KM Group, Josie Hannett, has gone on to become producer of Kent Tonight, an hour-long news programme every evening on local station KMTV.

Speaking to the NCTJ, she said: "The apprenticeship scheme has accelerated my career hugely and I couldn't be more grateful. I had the best experience and was given a massive opportunity and hands-on experience which helped me develop in my career. I got a gold standard NCTJ diploma which I needed for my job and the experience I got during the apprenticeship made my NCTJ lessons so much easier and relatable."

The junior journalist scheme is also appropriate for employers wishing to recruit an apprentice to work in range of settings such as a press office, PR agency, or communications role where journalism skills are required.

The apprenticeship standard for a senior journalist has been designed to meet the exacting standards required by employers across a wide range of digital newsrooms and other journalistic settings.

It has a recommended minimum training period of 18 months: candidates must complete the National Qualification in Journalism (NQJ), then – as in the junior journalist apprentice model – move on to complete an end-point assessment (EPA) to complete their apprenticeship. Apprentices will have a maximum of four months to successfully complete the EPA.

The EPA consists of a work-related assignment which includes a project presentation and a professional discussion. The NCTJ is the approved end-point assessment organisation (EPAO) to deliver the EPA for this standard.

The senior journalist apprenticeship is aimed at people who have already gained the Diploma in Journalism or completed the junior journalist apprenticeship or they may have no previous journalistic training. Typically, they will be graduates, but will not necessarily have studied journalism/media studies as part of their degree.

Those with no prior learning in journalism will need to learn basic journalism skills (to Diploma level) before moving on to the more advanced skills, knowledge and behaviours applicable to the NQJ. An employer will determine the entry criteria it requires of candidates at the point of recruitment. As a minimum for any apprenticeship standard, you must have achieved level 2 qualifications in maths and English before starting the end-point assessment.

For many employers, the NQJ is the qualification that marks a trainee’s transition to senior journalist. Therefore, a senior apprenticeship is a brilliant way to progress through the ranks by on-the-job training and off-the-job learning.

Finding an apprenticeship

An apprenticeship provides an alternative but demanding route into a competitive industry and suits those who want to earn while they learn. To search for an apprenticeship vacancy, you need to research recruitment opportunities on company websites, search via the National Apprenticeship Service on Gov.UK or talk to your local apprenticeship training provider.

NOTE: The junior journalist standard is due to be replaced by an updated Level 5 Journalist apprenticeship standard. This will include the Level 5 Diploma in Journalism. An updated apprenticeship standard and assessment plan will be published before the end of this year.

Apprenticeship Procedures

Junior journalist: training providers and employers, the latest apprenticeship admin pack is available to download here. This includes full procedures for delivering apprenticeships and all supplementary guidance documents.