In the second year of college, I seemed to be overwhelmed with the constant question: “Are you going to university?” There was also hardly any other information as in such great depth for other options; virtually everyone I knew has now gone off to a degree. Students who decided not to go were a bit of an outlier.
Since the age of about thirteen, I was intrigued by the blog Jump For Journalism; Amy Packham, now a Journalist for The Huffington Post was on the NCTJ course. The posts were really cool, and I basically envied the cool things Amy got to do; Vox Pops, Interviews, writing articles, work experience. “That’s me!” was all I could think on reading.
Anyway, fast forward a few year and I found out about the Brighton Journalist Works ; during the Summer holiday of last year-complete with a heatwave and the Southern Rail Strike, I went to a taster day. Here I took part in an interview roll play, undertook a social media exercise, and more.
I then took an aptitude test. (I can’t really blog about this; after all, wouldn’t want to help someone cheat.) This basically tests whether you can do the diploma.
It took a while to find out my result; on being told I had passed, I was elated (!) This meant that I could come on the course! The next hurdle to overcome was the price; how was I going to pay it? After all, the student loans service doesn’t cover it-it’s a private course, after all.
The Journalism Diversity Fund (JDF) helped me in this respect; for people who come from ethnically/socially diverse backgrounds, they help out with money, a sort of bursary if you like. You apply when each cohort opens; the next stage is an interview (which was really scary!), then you’re told if you’ve been awarded the fund. (I was in a politics lesson when the phone call came. )
So: University or a Diploma? I chose the Diploma. Virtually every Editor I have spoken to has said to get this qualification, and it’s not as academic as a degree could be, I think. It is also more skills based, I like the style of lectures, and is more industry based; it’s recognised in the industry, and tailors itself in that respect.
So, from here on out, here’s a new section for this little ol’ blog; me and the NCTJ diploma.