My apprenticeship story: Yohannes Lowe, The Telegraph

"I have always enjoyed talking to people and finding out about their personal stories."

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.

Yohannes Lowe, who works as an apprentice for The Telegraph and won the NCTJ apprentice of the year award in 2019, shares his story below:

I have always enjoyed talking to people and finding out about their personal stories.

That interest combined with a hunger for current affairs, made journalism a natural fit. But with no formal writing experience, I took up a teaching assistant role after graduating from university in 2017. It did not last more than six weeks.

I then looked for reporting jobs. An NCTJ apprenticeship was vital for training me in the basic skills of the profession, allowing me to be competent in a national newsroom with little formal experience.

The apprenticeship, which included regular teaching sessions at PA Training was great as it taught me to write shorthand quickly and the basics of media law and court reporting.

The Telegraph editors were happy that I had that grounding, as that meant they did not have to start at the very beginning when tutoring me.

These modules also enabled me to be sent out by editors in the newsroom to cover cases at crown and magistrate courts and to interview members of the public in fast-paced environments.

The more digital courses, such as mobile and video journalism, were important to be able to apply in a rapidly evolving newsroom, in which visual content is increasingly important as it drives online traffic.

PA Training is also well respected and many senior reporters I now work with also trained there. 

I would encourage budding journalists to take up an apprenticeship programme as the mixture of theoretical leaning, practical experience and guidance from professionals is invaluable.

It is a very competitive and sometimes challenging profession to break into, so apprenticeship schemes offer young people entry level positions without having to be degree educated.

This allows those from poorer and ‘diverse’ backgrounds equal opportunity to gain entry.

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