Stephen Ward has pleaded guilty to four offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, for misuse of the NCTJ logo on the college website, misuse of NCTJ course material and two offences against named students. Mr Ward received a two-year conditional discharge. Costs were awarded to Islington Council and he was ordered to pay compensation of £3,700 to the named student. Islington Trading Standards agreed to drop the fraud charge.
The NCTJ is pleased that Highbury magistrates have taken this case seriously and that officers from Islington Trading Standards pursued the matter so vigorously. The NCTJ is especially pleased by the decision of the court to award compensation to the named student who was duped by Mr Ward. Having reviewed the activities of NoSweat in 2011, the NCTJ made it clear to Stephen Ward that he could no longer trade as a training college offering NCTJ courses. The NCTJ deplores and regrets the way its reputation was misused by Mr Ward and the effect of his actions on students.
Stephen Ward, former director and chief executive officer of Nosweat Journalism Training, appeared at Highbury Magistrates Court on 9 August charged with unfair trading and fraud. The case was adjourned until 13 September 2012. Mr Ward was remanded on unconditional bail.
Nosweat Journalism Training wrote to the exams regulator, Ofqual, in August requesting an appeal. Ofqual's response was that the decision taken by the NCTJ not to renew accreditation was operational and not a regulatory matter. Ofqual confirmed it is not an appeals body and would not overturn a decision made by an awarding organisation. The response also went on to explain that NCTJ had not breached any of its recognition conditions and therefore Ofqual was unable to intervene in this matter.
The NCTJ is not trading with Nosweat Journalism Training.
This private journalism college cannot deliver NCTJ qualifications other than to complete the training for students on courses prior to 8 July 2011.
The NCTJ is organising the outstanding exams for students from Nosweat who have not completed courses that were previously NCTJ-accredited as well as students on the magazine course which was refused accreditation in 2009. The NCTJ is covering the costs of the exams and students do not need to pay exam fees for first sittings.