Based in the Cornish town of Liskeard, journalism apprentice Scarlett Hills-Brooks, 22, is responsible for gathering news from across the local community as she studies towards her NCTJ Diploma in Journalism with Darlington College.
She talks about the progress she has made through her apprenticeship, the appeal of “earning while learning” and reporting on her local area for Tindle Newspapers.
What attracted you to a journalism apprenticeship?
I did a degree at the University of Gloucestershire in photojournalism and documentary photography. The degree was about creating stories with photos and the interest in journalism came from there, because I wanted to pair the two together.
I finished my degree and I saw the apprenticeship pop up online and I applied to it, because it appealed to me. It seemed logical to me to do an apprenticeship because I wanted to get that NCTJ qualification at the same time.
Tell us about your training.
I am almost at the end of my apprenticeship now as I have finished all of my NCTJ exams apart from shorthand and I still need to do my end-point assessment. I have been studying remotely with Darlington College every Wednesday.
It’s great to be working and learning to get that qualification at the same time. I have come into a professional workplace and am learning those skills as I go, and I have been treated the same as everyone else even though I am not technically qualified yet. It makes a big difference to be in that professional setting and learn from others.
What are the main responsibilities in your role?
As a reporter I am responsible for reporting on local news stories, producing news photos and articles for the Cornish Times and the Cornish & Devon Post. I speak to lots of different people about potential stories that are interesting. Some people contact me with stories so I speak to them or even go to see them.
I also monitor social media, as Facebook community groups are useful sources of news. My role involves getting out to events to report on them, ranging from attending comedy nights through to the chance to go up the towers of the Tamar Bridge between Devon and Cornwall for its 60th anniversary.
What have been the benefits of doing an apprenticeship with Tindle?
Working as an apprentice with Tindle has been a great way to get involved in the local community while gaining insights into journalism, learning about both newspapers and online news, which has opened up the news industry for me.
The apprenticeship has been a good way to build contacts with people in the community where I have lived for my whole life. It has been a great way to meet local people and know what is going on. I enjoy my job and it has allowed me to take on more responsibilities.
With our newspapers being so local, I have also got to report on stories which probably would not have reached wider audiences, such as a man who contacted us for a piece thanking the NHS for the care he had received while ill. It meant a lot to him to thank the staff through our newspaper.