National Apprenticeship Week is taking place between 6-12 February, and the NCTJ is proud to support the campaign. Throughout the week, we will be sharing first-hand accounts from current and former apprentices, as well as employers, to demonstrate the benefits of journalism apprenticeships.
Sunny Badwal, who lives in Bradford, trained as an apprentice with PA Training and Press Association. He’s currently a sports journalist at PA Sport. He tells us about why a journalism apprenticeship appealed to him and how the NCTJ training has helped in his career.
Tell us why doing a journalism apprenticeship appealed to you.
I had already done a broadcast journalism degree, which wasn’t accredited by the NCTJ, but doing the degree made me realise I wanted to learn to do more print journalism and get the diploma from the NCTJ as well.
This opportunity came up with PA and it felt perfect for me to pursue that career path whilst also getting that NCTJ training. Actively getting that on-the-job experience felt perfect for me. I am a better journalist for it.
How has your NCTJ training helped in your career?
Media law is always a big factor, particularly when writing news stories. As a sports journalist, you are always wondering about who to approach and what you can and can’t say and write. So my media law training is always in the back of my mind.
Tell us what a typical day entails.
It’s different every day, and if I haven’t got a job to go to, it can be a lot of responding to breaking news and standard ‘on this day’ pieces that are from the diary. But if I am going to a game, it’s very full on.
I would get there a couple of hours before and do all the pre-match notes and previews to make sure that I am well-educated. Then when watching the match, I write up the report and send through to the desk five minutes after the final whistle.
Then I am thinking about what questions to ask afterwards at the post-match press conference. I learn a lot from going to a match because I don’t have anyone else to rely on and you have to make your own decisions.
Do you have any advice for aspiring journalists?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. At the end of the day, as journalists that’s what we’re meant to do. People sometimes think that if they ask questions about the job then they will look silly or look like they don’t know what they’re doing. But I’d rather be as prepared as I can be and that’s what you need to do. Everybody is always so helpful.