While most of us are thinking about fireworks and bonfires this 5 November, ninety trainee journalists have been sitting the NCTJ National Certificate Examination all over the country. The exams taking place today were for news reporters, sub-editors and sports reporters, with photographers sitting their exams on 16 November.
Despite the recent downturn in recruitment across the industry, the NCE continues to provide a popular and respected qualification for trainees. The NCE provides a measurable ‘gold-standard’ of excellence that is becoming more and more invaluable to an industry facing new challenges.
The NCE is designed to examine all-round competence in a range of fundamental skills and is the professional, senior qualification offered by the NCTJ. All reporting trainees must be able to extract information using excellent interview techniques, reproduce clear and concise reports in a style that attracts readers and demonstrate they are conversant with day-to-day newspaper practice inside and outside of the office. Sub-editors must complete a hard-copy proofing exercise and also demonstrate their design abilities.
To pass, trainees need to achieve 60% in all areas of the exam and despite the challenging nature of the qualification, the pass rate is on the rise. The last set of exams in the summer recorded the highest pass rate in two years.
For this set of examinations, the exams team enlisted the assistance of more than fifty volunteers who helped run the NCE day, and act as both interviewees and assessors for the exam candidates. Without the support and commitment of these volunteers the NCTJ could not run its NCE examination.