Media Release: NCTJ – setting standards in journalism training

A QUICK scan of the media jobs archive on allmediascotland shows that editors are looking for candidates who hold an NCTJ qualification.

The National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) delivers the premier training scheme for journalists in the UK.

Our alumni work in all sectors of the media, and 73 per cent of qualified journalists are NCTJ-trained (Source: Journalists at Work 2012).

The NCTJ is a charity that was founded in 1951 to run the newspaper industry’s training scheme, following the findings of a Royal Commission on the Press.

Now a charity for all media, the NCTJ continues its work as the guardian of the ‘gold standard’ for all journalists. We have a professional awarding body recognised by Ofqual, an accreditation board, a Student Council, focus groups and forums, and we hold an annual Journalism Skills Conference.

We know that the best way to cater for the needs of the industry is to get input from those who work in it.

In Scotland, we have particularly close links with editors from Newsquest, Johnston Press and DC Thomson who represent Scottish interests on our boards and focus groups.

Brian Pillans, lecturer in law at Glasgow Caledonian University, develops the Scottish media law syllabus and Robert Laird, tutor at Robert Gordon University, is on the shorthand board.

The NCTJ offers careers advice, a range of distance learning courses, textbooks, awards and a programme of short courses for anyone who wishes to develop or update their skills.

We also administer the Journalism Diversity Fund, an industry fund dedicated to increasing diversity in the newsroom. The fund was launched to wide acclaim in 2006 and is sponsored by NLA media access, Associated Newspapers, BSkyB and The Scott Trust.

What value does an NCTJ qualification have?

The NCTJ is the standard for journalism training. Our exams and the courses that carry our accreditation equip aspiring journalists to find their first job and help working journalists to progress to the next rung up the ladder.

An NCTJ qualification gives students a solid grounding in all the essential skills: reporting, media law, public affairs and shorthand. Qualifications also cover such subjects as news, magazine, sports, business and finance, online, video, radio and television journalism and sub editing.

Editors and industry professionals have direct input into NCTJ syllabuses and examinations, and that’s why we are trusted by the industry. An NCTJ certificate is a sign to an editor that a journalist has a solid foundation in the basics. All students are encouraged to achieve ‘the gold standard in the Diploma in Journalism (A-C grades in all modules and 100wpm).

The NCTJ accredits many journalism courses throughout the UK, including seven in Scotland, that lead to the Diploma in Journalism. All NCTJ-accredited courses have gone through the same accreditation process that ensures they have all met the same exacting standards.

A full list of our accredited courses can be found on the NCTJ website.

So a student gets a Diploma in Journalism – then what?

On completion of the diploma, our alumni have secured jobs in a variety of roles in both traditional and new media. Graduates and alumni are currently pursuing careers in newspapers, radio, TV, all manner of national, regional and hyperlocal websites, agencies, magazines and freelancing.

Those who secure trainee reporter positions at newspapers can qualify as a senior reporters by sitting the National Qualification in Journalism (NQJ). This is the NCTJ’s professional senior qualification that examines all-round competence in a range of essential journalism skills. (The National Certificate in Journalism is available for press photographers and photojournalists.) Editors register their trainees, who must have completed 18 months of full-time work and an e-logbook before being eligible to sit the exams.

Employers know that a journalism job candidate can hit the ground running if they have their NQJ – and ensuring our students are highly skilled and employable is at the heart of what we do.

Lisa Nelson is the marketing and communications executive for the National Council for the Training of Journalism (NCTJ).

PRESS RELEASE issued by the NCTJ. You too can post your story ideas for journalists (aka press or media releases), on Email for more information.

Contact: Lisa Nelson
Phone: 01799544944