Journalism employers sign up as ‘trailblazers’ in government apprenticeship scheme

Journalism employers, including Archant, the BBC, BSkyB, The Independent, ITN, Johnston Press, the KM Group, London Evening Standard and Newsquest, will take part in the government’s new trailblazer apprenticeship scheme.

The trailblazer programme will enable participating employers to create new apprenticeship standards that will deliver the quality skills employees need to achieve excellence in the workplace. 

The journalism employers will work with the National Council for the Training of Journalists to develop a higher level standard and assessment, which will enable journalism apprentices to progress to senior status. The group aims to report to ministers in June 2014, and publish the standard in July 2014. There will then be more detailed work to agree the assessment.

Following the Richard review of apprenticeships, the government decided to put employers in charge, simplify systems, grade assessments and, where possible, to link them to professional qualifications. 

The first eight trailblazer occupations were announced by the Department for Innovation, Business & Skills and the Prime Minister’s Office as part of phase one in October 2013 and journalism is part of phase two. 

A reception to celebrate the work done in phase one and to welcome in phase two will take place at 10 Downing Street on Thursday, 6 March, as part of National Apprenticeship Week. The KM Group’s Amanda Watts, HR and learning director and Dan Wright, editorial apprentice will be representing journalism employers and apprentices at the reception.

Matthew Hancock, Skills and Enterprise Minister said: “National Apprenticeship Week is designed to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.  

“We want to see apprenticeships become the new norm for all ambitious young people, and employers who are dedicated to growing their own talent and increasing the skills base of the nation. 

“I would like to thank everyone who has been involved as trailblazers for their commitment to apprenticeships and traineeships.”

Will Gore, deputy managing editor, London Evening Standard, The Independent, i and The Independent on Sunday, said: “We have been delighted to be one of the first media companies to take on apprentices though the NCTJ-inspired scheme.  The fact that journalism has been chosen as one of the occupations in the government’s new trailblazer initiative demonstrates how suited the trade is to entry via apprenticeship.  We look forward to working with the NCTJ and other employers to make the apprentice option even more attractive to young people and media firms alike.”

Joanne Butcher, NCTJ chief executive said: “Through their recent work on the entry level apprenticeship, newspaper and broadcast employers are already in the driving seat of journalism apprenticeships, and are therefore the natural choice as trailblazers.

“We are pleased the government is determined to tackle the shortcomings of the current system. We needed an interpreter to help us understand the complexities and find a way through the bureaucracy. Hopefully these reforms will simplify the systems, cut through the red tape and give real purchasing power to employers.” 

Click here to view the full guidance document for trailblazers.