Frequently asked questions

A: There are no specific qualification requirements for entry to the apprenticeship standards for a junior or senior journalist.

Employers will identify any relevant entry requirements in terms of previous qualifications, training, work experience or other criteria, but the following may be useful:

  • GCSEs in media-related subjects
  • A or AS Levels including English and other creative subjects
  • a degree or equivalent qualification for the senior journalist apprenticeship
  • Diplomas, such as BTEC National Diploma in Journalism Completion of journalism for beginners
  • courses at FE or adult education level
  • completion of journalism and creative writing courses
  • Completion of, or units from, the NCTJ Certificate in Foundation Journalism

The following may also be useful:

  • Non-accredited prior learning gained through work experience
  • A portfolio of their own self-published blog
  • A portfolio of work published in a not-for-profit publication or by a commercial publisher. This could include related work by a volunteer (eg: PRO for a club or society), or work published in a school or college magazine Training which may include a portfolio of work

A: Those applying to become an apprentice journalist must be eligible to work in the UK. If required, an apprentice must also achieve a minimum level 2 qualification in maths and English on completion of the apprenticeship.

A: Apprentices on the junior journalist standard will take the NCTJ Level 3 Diploma in Journalism qualification which is well-recognised and valued in the industry. Apprentices will also complete a work-related project (end-point assessment) towards the end of the apprenticeship programme which is independently assessed by the NCTJ.


Apprentices on the senior journalist standard will take the NCTJ Level 6 National Qualification in Journalism which is a professional standard senior qualification. Apprentices will also complete a project/presentation/professional discussion (end-point assessment) towards the end of the programme which is independently assessed by the NCTJ.

A: It varies, but all apprenticeships will last a minimum of 12 months and the junior journalist apprenticeship standard recommends a minimum of 18 months. The senior journalist standard recommends a minimum of 22 months.

A: The selection process is set by individual employers and often takes the form of a standard job application process. Individuals will be shortlisted and interviewed to establish if they are the right fit for the role and may be tested on English and writing skills, current affairs knowledge and news sense.

A: No. While you are on an apprenticeship, your employer pays you a salary whilst you undertake your training. Most of the training is ‘on the job’ within the workplace and the rest will be provided by a college approved by the NCTJ.

Employers and government funding covers the full cost of your training.

A: While a full-time job is not guaranteed at the end of the apprenticeship, you may be offered a job as a journalist with the company you were employed with as an apprentice. Possible progression can include: progressing to the senior journalist apprenticeship scheme which includes the National Qualification in Journalism (NQJ); working towards the NQJ directly to qualify as a senior journalist;  or completing continuous professional development to become a specialist reporter, eg: political reporter; video journalist or business reporter working in different sectors of the media industry or PR and communications.