My apprenticeship story: Thomas Kingsley, MyLondon

National Apprenticeship Week is taking place between the 3rd and 9th of February, and the NCTJ is proud to support the campaign. Throughtout the week, we will be sharing first-hand accounts from current and former apprentices and employers to demonstrate the benefits of journalism apprenticeships.

Thomas Kingsley, who works as an Community News Project apprentice for MyLondon, shares his story below:

Growing up as an ethnic minority in a marginalised community, I quickly noticed that people who looked like me and came from my background were seldom represented in the media.

This is problematic because underrepresentation often leads to a lack of understanding and a lack of empathy for individuals who make up a minority. 

I wanted to become a journalist, then, to engage with a range of groups and share on media platforms both their triumphs and challenges.

We should be able to grieve with those who are victims of injustice and celebrate with those who achieve great feats.

I believe stories are important for uniting people and encouraging a society that seeks to talk with people rather than about them. 

My role as a trainee reporter has further affirmed to me why well-rounded coverage is essential.

From highlighting the burdening concerns of a community to pointing at-risk youths in the direction of life-changing support, my role has been challenging at points but always worthwhile and rewarding. 

Navigating this role as an apprentice has also been an added benefit in that whilst I work I’m constantly surrounded by adequate support for my learning.

Through studying to sit the NCTJ exams with my peers, we have the privilege of dissecting scenarios that may be encountered at work, and understanding the best journalistic practice to approach them. This has helped my growth significantly because where I make mistakes, I feel empowered to seek out necessary correction and feedback. 

I think through my community focus, the newsroom is seeing increasingly why attention to different local groups is beneficial to growing a loyal readership. Being able to connect and form relationships with communities develops their trust and reliability of our coverage. 

For anyone aspiring to get into journalism, I would certainly recommend this route and any others that allow you to learn whilst you work.

Additionally, regardless of your academic background, there are opportunities to get into journalism as I’m proving having studied a science degree. 

My hope is that many more people will be inspired to pursue a career in journalism and contribute to more well-rounded representation in media.