National Apprenticeship Week is taking place between the 5th and 9th of March, and the NCTJ is proud to support the campaign. Each day throughout the week, we will be sharing first-hand accounts from apprentices and employers to demonstrate how apprentices work for them.
Laura Adams, content director for Archant's London, Kent, Herts&Cambs and Southwest newspapers, tells us how apprenticeships work for Archant below:
Apprenticeships have been a core part of Archant’s recruitment drive since the NCTJ scheme launched in 2012.
There is enormous value in leveraging the apprenticeship scheme because it opens doors to ambitious individuals looking to break into the industry while also creating huge benefits for our local newspaper titles.
We have attracted candidates from people we wouldn’t normally reach – and makes being a journalist a more achievable ambition than it may have been previously. In the past, the road to being a journalist – GCSEs, A-levels, university degree, NCTJ training – was an uphill struggle for some. But the apprenticeship scheme is less complex and more accessible – though still hard work!
We offer people the opportunity to realise their dream of being a journalist by offering and supporting full NCTJ preliminary training, while also providing crucial on-the-job training in one of our busy newsrooms. Once they have obtained those qualifications, they are then trained for their senior qualification, the NQJ.
We have noticed that journalists who launched their careers as apprentices tend to display more loyalty and commitment to the company – indeed, our very first apprentice journalist is still with us – which helps tackle high staff turnover.
We have also seen positive effects on the quality of our journalism – most apprentice journalists are plucked from the communities in which we operate, and therefore have the local knowledge and passion for the patch they are responsible for. They live, work and socialise in the communities we seek to represent so they not only source the most relevant and newsworthy stories, but they also influence the tone of the content and ensure we are reflecting the voice of our communities appropriately.
Another crucial benefit in taking the apprenticeship route is that we are reaching individuals outside of higher education (which is historically the most common route into a newspaper job) and going straight to the schools and communities. In doing this, we have attracted candidates from diverse backgrounds which, in turn, makes our newsrooms more diverse and inclusive.
In summary, the apprenticeship scheme has been hugely beneficial to us as a publisher of local journalism – it enriches our content, enhances our connections to our communities and contributes towards creating a multi-skilled and multi-faceted set of news teams.