A student who received NCTJ training designed for aspiring journalists with disabilities has secured a place on a prestigious traineeship with ITV News.
Jamie Green, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, is celebrating starting work with ITV Meridian as a trainee journalist last week.
The 28-year-old is also completing his training for the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism with Ability Today’s Academy for Disabled Journalists.
The NCTJ has partnered with social enterprise Ability Today since 2020 to offer accessible journalism courses to aspiring journalists with disabilities and longstanding health conditions.
Ability Today delivers introductory journalism courses for students to achieve the Level 3 Certificate in Foundation Journalism, as well as courses for students to achieve the entry-level and industry-standard diploma qualification.
Students enrolled on the courses study remotely via the NCTJ’s Journalism Skills Academy platform and through interactive online video classes.
Jamie, who lives in Oxfordshire, said he was attracted to the diploma programme offered by Ability Today because of how accessible it was for him.
He said: “Getting to a course somewhere else could have been quite difficult – I wanted to be able to study at home.
“One of the biggest attractions of the course was that you don’t have to go to a certain place at a certain time. That’s hard for people with disabilities.
“The course wasn’t just distance learning where you get left to it. They give you weekly lectures on different topics. I needed that guidance and regular input. It makes you feel less isolated.
“There are other students on the course who have various disabilities and having that community is really nice.”
Jamie decided to embark on a career as a journalist after he had studied German and Italian at university, and completed a PHD in October 2021.
He said: “I have always had the idea I wanted to be a journalist – that’s the thing I always wanted to do.
“Towards the end of my PHD, I was starting to think that I did want to do something in journalism. I had never forgotten it.
“I wanted to show I was serious about becoming a journalist, and I was put in touch with Grant [Logan, founder of Ability Today].
“He said that the NCTJ diploma is what I needed to get as the industry-standard qualification and I could fit studying around my other commitments. That was crucial for me.”
Studying with Ability Today has also allowed Jamie to get experience in the industry and pursue his interest in sports journalism. During the programme, he has been linked up with mentor Mat Kendrick, deputy managing editor (sport) for nationals and regionals at Reach PLC.
Jamie said: “Mat is great. He has given me opportunities to report on a football club in Oxford, and I got an Aston Villa article published in Birmingham Mail.
“Everything else has come from that – it has given me the credibility.”
Jamie also successfully applied to join the team reporting on The Hundred cricket tournament, which led to him working with the England and Wales Cricket Board to cover games and write features on 100-ball cricket side Southern Brave.
In March, he started to think about where he wanted to work as a journalist.
He said: “I wanted to get into broadcast journalism and I came across the ITV traineeship. I went through the application process and by the end of May I had been offered the role.”
During the nine-month traineeship, Jamie will be taught skills needed to work in ITV’s multimedia news operation, learning from correspondents on the road, as well as producers and presenters.
He said: “It’s exciting to have that first opportunity at ITV News. I am looking forward to getting experience behind and in front of the camera.
“Having a disability is something you think about, but my manager has been really helpful. Everything is in place for me and I couldn’t have asked for more.”
Jamie credits his diploma training and opportunities he gained through his studies as giving him the helping hand he needed to secure his first job in journalism.
He said: “I wouldn’t have got to this point and got this job without Ability Today or the NCTJ.
“It gave me the opportunity and the environment to make that next step from somebody who wanted to be a journalist to somebody who could be a journalist.
“I’ve still got so much to learn but getting that NCTJ qualification has given me the way in. Without Ability Today, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Grant Logan, founder of Ability Today, said: “I am really proud to have helped Jamie on his journey into working at a mainstream media organisation like ITV.
“Partnering with the NCTJ for the last three years has given us the tools to develop these unique accessible courses for students with a wide range of disabilities.
“The news about Jamie’s apprenticeship at ITV tells you exactly why we set up the Academy for Disabled Journalists: to support those with the ability and ambition to make a career in journalism by removing many of the barriers faced in conventional education.
“We have worked closely with NCTJ to make the courses inclusive and accessible, and I am sure Jamie is just the first student from Ability Today to go on and find employment.
“Jamie has shown dedication and how he can overcome his disability and thrive. This is a massive success for Jamie, the NCTJ and ourselves. Watch this space for the next talented students coming through our academy.”
Nikki Akinola, senior diversity and inclusion co-ordinator at the NCTJ, said: “I could see Jamie’s determination to succeed immediately. As soon as the induction session was over, Jamie was ready to begin and get stuck in.
“In partnership with Jamie and Ability Today, we worked hard to make sure that Jamie had all the tools he needed to successfully complete his course and exams and he rose to the challenge.
“We wish him all the very best in his ITV News traineeship and his future career. Breaking barriers and being an ambassador for diversity in Journalism, Jamie is going to do great things.”
Following the success of the pilot diploma programme in 2021-21, highlighted by Jamie’s achievements, a second cohort begins a new diploma course this week, combining distance learning with regular, weekly support sessions led by NCTJ trainers.