What to expect – advice from former part-time NCTJ journalism trainees

It’s different studying part-time – we’ve a decade’s experience in delivering the NCTJ syllabus to those combing work with study.

Here’s some advice from those who have been there and done it.

Lawrence Ostlere, The Guardian

“The best way to get the most out of studying part-time at News Associates is to squeeze every drop you can from those teaching it. Take the opportunity to talk to your tutors who have years of experience in the industry, and the more you talk to them, the more useful nuggets will stick with you.”

Laura Wignall, BBC News

“Doing the part-time NCTJ course with NA was the best decision I made, my only regret is not doing it straight after graduating! It validates your skills and any future employer will know you understand the legal ramifications of reporting which is essential. Public affairs was also very useful for me working on the election and understanding the differences between central and local government, and lots of acronyms! When you start the course, you need to decide which area of journalism you want to focus on so you can start honing in on work experience and portfolio/showreel in your spare time.”

Hannah Scott, The Sunday Times
 
“I’m not going to lie, studying part-time and holding down a job is tough. You’re giving up a day of your weekend and you’ll often be working when you get home in the evening. However, it’s absolutely worth it. The hours you put in will be rewarded at the end of the course, and there is no better place to study part time for your NCTJ than News Associates.”
 
Danny Collins, The Sun
 
“My advice would be that entry into journalism is extremely difficult without the NCTJ. I’ve had a few interviews where they’ve been impressed by the dedication it took to do the qualification on top of a full-time job – so it’s certainly not a disadvantage studying part-time.  The course was great, and that goes without saying, but the help I got afterwards getting a job was probably just as important. You’re not ferried out the door and forgotten once the course is over, and the staff really go the extra mile to help you get your first foot on the ladder.  And, yeah, shorthand. You have to put the work in, but you will get it in the end. And that’s coming from me, who was awful at shorthand for a really long time!”
 
Annabel Grossman, Daily Mail US
 
“To have a solid grounding in media law is invaluable to any journalist, and my law training at News Associates is something I use at my job every day. Even now, a couple of years down the line, I still revert back to my NA notes! I wasn’t sure it would be possible to learn shorthand while working full-time and studying part-time, and it is only thanks to the training and insanely dedicated staff at NA that I got my 100wpm. But be prepared to work hard. Journalism is so competitive that if you have the opportunity to do anything to get ahead then do it. If I had one piece of advice it would be to go to every lesson, every session and every talk put on by NA – they’re amazing resources, so use them!”

David Currie, Sky Sports

“I studied broadcast journalism at university but it wasn’t till I went to News Associates that I really perfected my skills. It gave me a much better grounding of what is required in the professional world. The various modules you study in the course are all of benefit – from shorthand to multimedia journalism, an understanding of which is so important in today’s newsrooms.”