First Sky News scholarship winner bags newspaper reporting job

An NCTJ student, who was the first to be awarded the Sky News Bob Friend Memorial Scholarship, has secured a full-time job in journalism, despite the fact that he doesn’t graduate until the summer.

Alan McGuinness is studying the BA in journalism and the news industry at the University of Kent and spent a month at the Sky News Centre in 2009 thanks to the Scholarship. He has now got a job as a trainee reporter with the Medway Messenger and is also looking to achieve the NCTJ gold-standard by passing his 100wpm shorthand next week. He already has A-C passes in all subjects and 90wpm shorthand.

He said: "I'm thrilled to have got the job. It's a fantastic opportunity to put into practice what I've learnt at Kent over the past three years. The course has equipped me with the skills to produce multimedia journalism, including the fundamentals such as law and shorthand. 

"Added to this are the work experience placements and the Bob Friend Memorial Scholarship, which I was lucky enough to win in my first year. 

"My time at Kent has provided me with a foundation for what I hope will be a long and fulfilling career in the industry."

Professor Tim Luckhurst, head of the Centre for Journalism at the University of Kent, paid tribute to Alan’s achievement: "We know how tough it is to get a start in the profession these days.  Alan has done brilliantly."    

Rob Kirk, editorial development manager at Sky News, also congratulated him: “This is a fabulous result for Alan, for the Centre of Journalism – and for the Scholarship. Bob Friend began his career on a local paper in Kent, and I’m sure he’d be delighted to see Alan start the same way”.

The Bob Friend Memorial Scholarship is a partnership between Sky News and the University of Kent that was set up in memory of the former Sky News presenter. It gives a first-year journalism student a month’s work experience at Sky News and also pays their first year tuition fees. This year’s winner will be announced in the coming weeks.

The BA in Journalism and the News Industry was accredited by the NCTJ in 2008 before it started - a rare honour - when the visiting panel of editors agreed that it "has the potential to lead the field of undergraduate courses."