National Apprenticeship Week 2024: Insights from a journalism apprentice

The NCTJ asked Ayisha Gharu for her insights about what it is like to be a journalism apprentice.

Journalist apprentice Ayisha Gharu is training for her NCTJ Diploma in Journalism at PA Training while working in a Haymarket Media Group newsroom.

As part of  National Apprenticeship Week 2024 – which runs from Monday, 5 February to Sunday, 11 February – we asked Ayisha for her insights about what it is like to earn while she learns.

What is your job title and place of work?

I work at Haymarket Media Group for What Car? magazine, and my current role is social media executive. Before this, I was an editorial apprentice.

Why did you choose to become an apprentice?

I’ve always been a hands-on learner so I knew that university wasn’t necessarily the right path for me.

However I always had the assumption that to get into journalism you had to go to university. I had no clue that I could achieve the qualifications through an apprenticeship.

It wasn’t until I did some research online and came across the apprentice role at Haymarket and thought that was the perfect opportunity for me.

Tell us about your role and what you do at Haymarket?

I look after all of What Car?’s social media accounts (X, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Threads and LinkedIn).

I plan and create all of the content that goes out across all of these platforms and keep a close eye on how each platform is performing to ensure that it continues to grow in the right direction.

What does your day-to-day job entail?

My day usually starts off planning and preparing all of the content that will go live across all of our social media channels.

I’ll have a look at the stories we’ll be covering on that day and make sure they are promoted on our social channels.

We usually have some cars in for reviewing so I’ll try to shoot some social video with them, too.

Working for a motoring magazine, there’s always a bunch of cool opportunities to drive new cars for photoshoots or investigations so that always helps to mix things up, too.

I also help out with writing stories for our website from time to time.

What is your favourite part of being a journalism apprentice?

My favourite thing about being a journalism apprentice was the amount of things I got to experience. I feel like when people think of apprentices, everyone automatically assumes you’ll be on coffee duty or given the jobs that no one else wants to do.

But when I look back at my time as an apprentice, I was able to really get stuck into things.

Whether it was driving new cars, leading the social media coverage for one of the biggest nights for our brand (What Car? Car of the Year Awards), or just simply writing a feature or news story, it was definitely the sort of thing I didn’t expect to be doing going into the apprenticeship but was very grateful to have done so.

How has your NCTJ training helped you in the newsroom?

When I first started my apprenticeship, I was quite intimidated by everything. Having just left college with essentially no journalistic experience, I was starting right from scratch. Luckily, the NCTJ training started from the basics and it’s something I still use every day at work.

The training has helped me to become better at working under time constraints, be more efficient with my words and become a better writer in general.

What advice would you give to people considering a career in journalism?

Honestly, go for it. Getting into this industry is an exciting venture and you’ll get so many amazing opportunities that head your way because of it so take advantage of each one and have fun with it!

What are your career aspirations in the future?

One of the great things about journalism is the number of different sectors you can get into.

I’ve started off in automotive but I would like to explore different varieties of journalism in the future.

There are various options for aspiring journalists wishing to study for their NCTJ qualification via an apprenticeship.

Find out more here.

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