A campaign urging prospective university students to make an informed choice and understand the benefits of choosing an NCTJ-accredited degree course has been launched.
Employers, students and alumni have come together to promote the importance of achieving the NCTJ diploma.
The NCTJ has spoken to trainees who have had to study for the diploma qualification after having already completed an unaccredited BA journalism degree.
Not having the NCTJ diploma meant they felt they did not have the industry-standard skills and knowledge needed to get their foot in the door or progress into the next stage of their careers.
Damian Shepherd, 23, is now studying MA journalism at the University of Sheffield after previously completing a BA in journalism on a course not accredited by the NCTJ.
He opted to study for the diploma after his lack of shorthand training meant he couldn’t take down an accurate quote.
He said: “I would say go for an NCTJ-accredited course straight away. I would have preferred to get an NCTJ-accredited degree in hindsight.”
Olivia Noon, a journalism trainee at the BBC World Service, secured a bursary from the Journalism Diversity Fund which allowed her to study for the diploma at PA Training.
She had already completed a BA in journalism on a course not accredited by the NCTJ.
The 25-year-old, from Liverpool, said: “I was struggling to get a job so I decided to study for the NCTJ.
“It gives you an extra string to your bow and gave me more confidence in myself. I felt more confident in law, public affairs and shorthand.
“Editors at the BBC like you to have the NCTJ and they love that I have shorthand.
“I think the NCTJ sets me apart.”
NCTJ-accredited courses are increasingly valued in the industry as a benchmark for quality journalism, with 81 per cent of qualified journalists possessing the NCTJ diploma qualification.
Mark Alford, director of Sky Sports News (elect), offered this advice: “Make sure you study a course that is NCTJ-accredited. And work hard on your shorthand.”
Joanne Butcher, chief executive of the NCTJ, said: “With a bewildering choice of BA courses that cost thousands of pounds and involve years of study, we want students to make an informed choice when applying for university.
“Students serious about a career in journalism who want to study journalism at university should choose an NCTJ-accredited degree course.
“NCTJ accreditation is the hallmark of excellence in journalism training, providing a world-class industry qualification recognised and respected throughout the media.
“Students can trust that our accredited courses give them the fundamental skills and knowledge to kick start their career in all sectors of the media.”
As well as journalism degrees, the NCTJ also offers fast-track courses, MA programmes, part-time options and distance learning to accommodate all learners’ needs. There are also opportunities for apprentices who want to earn while they learn.
Keep up with the campaign and join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #ChooseNCTJ.
Universities currently offering NCTJ-accredited BA courses are:
De Montfort University
Glasgow Caledonian University
Leeds Trinity University
News Associates London in partnership with Plymouth Marjon University
News Associates Manchester in partnership with Plynouth Marjon University
Nottingham Trent University
University of Brighton
University of Central Lancashire
University of Essex
University of Gloucestershire
University of Kent
University of Lincoln
University of Portsmouth
University of Sheffield
University of Sunderland
Click here for a full list of NCTJ-accredited courses.