NCTJ diploma alumni are nearly three times more likely to secure journalism job within 15 months, new research reveals

Findings of the Destinations of NCTJ Diploma in Journalism students report have been published today.

NCTJ Diploma in Journalism alumni are nearly three times more likely to land a journalism job compared to the journalism graduate population overall, new research has found.

The Destinations of NCTJ Diploma in Journalism students report, published by the NCTJ today, examines the employment of learners 15 months after they completed an NCTJ-accredited course.

This is then compared to the job outcomes of all UK students (including journalism graduates) after the same period, using data collected by the UK’s Higher Education Statistics Authority (HESA) in its Graduate Outcomes survey.

It found 74 per cent of NCTJ graduates had started working in a journalism-related job within 15 months, compared to just 28 per cent of journalism graduates surveyed by HESA.

There is also a relationship between the level of diploma achieved and the likelihood of securing a job in the industry. Students who achieved the NCTJ’s gold standard* are even more likely to get their foot in the door, with 88 per cent working a journalism job within 15 months.

Additionally, four fifths of the NCTJ diploma alumni (79 per cent) said the qualification prepared them well for the world of work.

Mark Spilsbury, NCTJ research consultant who authored the report, said: “As individuals have invested their time and money in gaining an NCTJ diploma qualification, it is appropriate that they know what impact their investment will have.

“They should know whether the diploma is likely to lead to employment, whether it will increase their chances of getting the type of job they want and what level of salary they may earn.

“The research shows that having the diploma increases your overall employment rate and your chances of getting a journalism job. The higher your level of diploma qualification, the more likely that this is the case.

“This matters because people who are in journalism jobs are more likely to believe their work is meaningful, it fits with their future plans and think they are using what they learned in their studies.”

The research also found the salaries of NCTJ diploma alumni after 15 months was on par with the graduate population as a whole, with the median value of both around £25,000 – £30,000.

Michelle Johnson, newly appointed chair of the NCTJ’s accreditation board, said: “I welcome the findings of this report. The figures show what we know about the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism – that it gives aspiring journalists the best chance to succeed in a competitive industry and that employers understand candidates with the diploma are ready to hit the ground running in their new jobs.

“The fact that NCTJ diploma alumni are nearly 300 per cent more likely to land a journalism job proves this. Many journalism graduates without the diploma come to understand this too late, after they have spent years and vast sums of money on training that is not as valued in the newsroom.”

This comes as the NCTJ is gathering a group of outstanding journalists to be ambassadors who champion quality, trust and diversity in journalism and the value of achieving an NCTJ qualification.

NCTJ chief executive Joanne Forbes said: “Our new team of ambassadors will be working hard to spreading the word about the findings of this report, informing as many aspiring journalists as possible about the importance of studying for the diploma.

“They can achieve it on brilliant accredited courses all around the UK, via the NCTJ’s distance learning platform or an apprenticeship.”

Read the full report here.

*To achieve gold standard, students must earn grades A – C in all mandatory modules and 100 words per minute in the shorthand examination. Candidates may also gain a gold standard diploma without shorthand with a minimum 82 credits with A-C grades in their mandatory and elective modules.

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