NCTJ policy on supporting learners with particular needs

Following recent queries about NCTJ support for learners with particular needs, please see our statement below. We would like to emphasise that this is not a new policy.

In all of the NCTJ’s qualifications, including shorthand, we make reasonable adjustments and give special considerations to learners with particular needs.

The NCTJ Diploma in Journalism is an industry-designed vocational qualification and is recognised as the industry standard, pre-entry qualification for trainee journalists. Shorthand is an elective component of the diploma, which means that learners may complete the qualification without shorthand.

The NCTJ National Qualification in Journalism is a professional qualification taken by regional newspaper journalists after a minimum of 18 months of employment. Although the eligibility requirements for this qualification include shorthand, applications made for learners unable to meet the eligibility requirements are always considered, and adjustments will be considered for candidates with particular needs. For example, we have a trainee sitting the November NQJ exam who cannot achieve 100wpm shorthand, so alternative arrangements have been made following a discussion with the editor and the trainee.

The NCTJ actively encourages people with disabilities to train as journalists, and we provide bursaries through the Journalism Diversity Fund for those who need help with their training. The Thomas Read bursary is named after an inspirational young journalist with cerebral palsy at Sky Sports News who died suddenly in January 2015, and was specifically launched to help journalists with disabilities.  

We strongly believe that a disability should not be a barrier to getting a job in journalism, and even if employers have shorthand as a requirement, applications will normally be considered on a case-by case basis.

We are unable to comment on SQA policies.