Not only do work experience and internships provide an opportunity to translate skills learned in the classroom, and to hone them, they give potential new entrants to the industry a chance to understand the culture of a media business and to meet people in the kind of roles they would like to fill themselves.
After successful completion of the Diploma in Journalism, no trainees should work for free. They are, after all, qualified journalists.
What type of placements are on offer?
Insight days provide a chance for someone who may want to discover more about journalism to see a newsroom, perhaps attend a news conference or shadow members of staff or be shown how editorial decisions are made.
These insight experiences might last between half a day to 2-3 days. These are usually not paid opportunities, though expenses to cover travel may be offered.
For those who are already training to be a journalist, work experience is likely to be a key part of their development, helping them to be ‘newsroom ready’ once they have qualified.
We generally recommend placements of one to two weeks, or an arrangement where a student undertakes a day-per0week placement during their course.
The NCTJ’s view is that travel expenses at least should be offered, where practicable.
A longer, more structured internship tends to suit a candidate who is taking their first career step, potentially providing a gateway into employment with the provider. Internships – particularly those lasting for more than six months – might themselves include a significant, formal or semi-formal training element.
Most internship programmes run between three months and one year and offer a clear route for progression into a permanent role.
Any placement that is longer than two weeks is likely to move beyond training and into work. As such, we believe that lengthier placements and internships should be paid at least the UK National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage, as applicable.
How can I apply for opportunities?
We recommend enquiring directly with employers in regards to insight days, work placements and internships. You may also find out about opportunities via employers’ websites, on social media, and through your NCTJ-accredited course provider. We also list available internships via our jobs board.