Archant’s apprenticeship scheme a “fantastic opportunity” for budding journalists

Archcant has launched a NCTJ Journalism Apprenticeship framework scheme

Archant has launched a NCTJ Journalism Apprenticeship framework scheme

Apprenticeships in professional services are gathering momentum. Although apprenticeships are still popular in blue collar industries such as construction and engineering, apprenticeships are becoming commonplace in a wide range of professions such as accounting, law and journalism.

In a recent blog post, Malcolm Starbrook, editor-in-chief of Archant London, outlines his reasons for bringing apprentices on to the workforce.

“For many years Archant London has taken on young journalism graduates who have gone on to great success in the industry.

But I find that while competition to enter journalism is greater than ever, the quality of graduates emerging from the training colleges has fallen. I believe this is due, in part, to some colleges reducing the course length to offer a cheaper alternative to attract cash-strapped university graduates.

We currently recruit our journalists by targeting university graduates who have gone on to take a pre-entry course. This leads to newsrooms no longer wholly reflecting their local communities.

I intend to utilise an alternative route into newspapers for trainees: the newly created NCTJ Journalism Apprenticeship framework scheme.

The scheme is for two years. The apprentice will be working on our newspapers for four days a week and studying at Lambeth College for one day. The college provides the academic base so that apprentices will learn the core journalism skills (print and digital) and essentials such as shorthand (to NCTJ 100 wpm industry standard requirement), news reporting, feature writing, interview techniques, story development, journalistic social media, media law and ethics. The course will also show how the courts, public services and UK government work and how they impact on the public and the media.

There is no guarantee of a job on the completion of the apprenticeship. However, experience gained will give the individual all the skills needed for an Advanced Apprenticeship in Journalism (Level 3) and an NCTJ diploma in journalism. By the end of the two years, the apprentice will be in a position to compete for trainee reporter jobs in Archant London.

I believe the Archant London Journalism Apprenticeship Scheme (ALJAS) will provide a fantastic opportunity for an individual to kick-start a career in regional newspapers, and it will also allow editors to recruit local people and ensure they reflect the social and ethnic mix of the communities we serve.

I currently have a vacancy for a reporter on one of our teams, and intend to fill this position with a paid apprentice whom we will recruit locally. The ALJAS will combine training and study at Lambeth College with work experience in our newspapers and digital teams.”