Helen Skelton: NCTJ qualifications "relevant and respected"

Picture: NCTJ-trained journalist Helen Skelton, co-presenter of Blue Peter.

Helen Skelton, co-presenter of Blue Peter and former Newsround reporter, is the latest NCTJ-trained journalist to feature on the charity’s alumni webpage.

Helen completed the NCTJ-accredited BA (Hons) degree in Journalism at the University of Cumbria, a course which allowed Helen to sit NCTJ exams alongside the university qualification.

Helen proved a very capable student, gaining merits in public affairs central government and local government and distinctions in media law court reporting and general reporting.

She began her career in local radio before joining the BBC, becoming breakfast presenter of BBC Radio Cumbria.

Helen was revealed as the new Blue Peter presenter in 2008. Since she joined the show she has had many adventures becoming only the second woman ever to finish the gruelling Namibian Ultra Marathon and solo kayaking the entire length of the Amazon River for Sport Relief this year.

Helen Skelton said: “Without the NCTJ law and public affairs qualifications I would have really struggled to get any work experience, which ultimately led to my first proper job in broadcasting. With those certificates under my belt my editor thought I was a safer pair of hands and less likely to land him in court.

“They are still qualifications I dine out on: I was lucky enough to meet with a commissioning editor the other day who spent ages chatting to me about her Teeline studies.

“Aside from its usefulness, shorthand seems to be one of those things that commands respect, I genuinely haven't met a successful journalist who hasn't at one time used it.”

“Once I had my NCTJ qualifications I found that I could make myself useful in a newsroom, I had a better grasp of local politics and could make more sense of stories. I didn't embarrass myself by saying things that were illegal and by using my Teeline I could keep up with court proceedings and meetings. They are practical qualifications that are relevant and respected.”

Helen will feature on the National Council for the Training of Journalists' alumni webpage during July. Previous alumni to feature on the webpage include Geordie Greig, editor of the London Evening Standard, and Kay Burley of Sky News.