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An apprenticeship is a great option for those who want to earn while they learn, giving them on-the-job newsroom experience while they undertake an NCTJ qualification.

An apprenticeship is aimed at those who want to develop a career in journalism by combining off-the-job learning with on-the-job training. It is a professional, vocational training scheme that doesn’t compromise on the exacting standards that are vital in modern newsrooms.

You must be at least 16 years old to apply for an apprenticeship, but there is no upper age limit. Individual employers may specify an age range to suit their needs.

It is possible to undertake a journalist apprenticeship at both junior and senior levels. Both apprenticeship standards include an industry-recognised NCTJ qualification, which must be gained by an apprentice to take a final assessment and complete the apprenticeship.

Journalist apprentice

The apprenticeship standard for a journalist is an industry-designed training scheme offering a career path in journalism. It includes a recommended training period of 18 months, during which time apprentices must complete the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism before progressing to the apprenticeship’s end-point assessment (EPA).


I had the best time on my apprenticeship, and I can honestly say that if I didn't do the apprenticeship, I don't think I would be where I am now in my career.
Cree-Summer Haughton, ITV News

The journalist scheme is also appropriate for employers wishing to recruit an apprentice to work in a range of settings such as a press office, PR agency, or communications role where journalism skills are required.

Senior journalist apprentice

The apprenticeship standard for a senior journalist has been designed to meet the exacting standards required by employers across a wide range of digital newsrooms and other journalistic settings.

It has a recommended minimum training period of 18 months, during which time candidates must complete the National Qualification in Journalism (NQJ), then move on to complete an end-point assessment (EPA) to complete their apprenticeship.

For many employers, the NQJ is the qualification that marks a trainee’s transition to senior journalist. Therefore, a senior apprenticeship is a brilliant way to progress through the ranks.

End Point Assessment

The NCTJ is an End Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO) approved by the Education and Skills Funding Agency to deliver end-point assessments (EPAs) for the level 5 journalist and level 7 senior journalist apprenticeship standards. We are also approved to deliver the EPA for the Level 3 content creator standard.

For further information on EPAs and how to register an apprentice for an end-point assessment please see here.

Content creator apprenticeship

This apprenticeship is designed for the role of a content creator working in both creative and non-creative industries, in any organisation creating content to engage with its audience. The NCTJ is an EPAO approved to deliver the EPA for the Level 3 content creator apprenticeship standard.

Finding an apprenticeship

There are many places you can search for apprenticeship vacancies, such as the NCTJ’s jobs board, the National Apprenticeship Service on, job sites, company websites and social media. You can also talk to your local apprenticeship training provider

The senior journalist apprenticeship is aimed at people who have already gained the Diploma in Journalism. Those with no prior learning in journalism will need to learn basic journalism skills (to diploma level) before moving on to the more advanced skills, knowledge and behaviours applicable to the NQJ. An employer will determine the entry criteria it requires of candidates.

Become an apprenticeship training provider

If you would like information on becoming an apprenticeship training provider or if you are an employer interested in recruiting an apprentice, please contact Rachel Manby, head of quality and assessment, or Lyn Jones, head of qualifications.

Level 3 Junior Journalist end-point assessment

The level 3 junior journalist end-point assessment will be withdrawn from the Register of Regulated Qualifications from 30 September 2024. Please click here to read the NCTJ’s transition arrangements and withdrawal statement for this qualification.

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