UCFB is the go to destination for news media organisations to train their apprentice journalists. Since the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism programme was launched, apprentices from Sky News, Sky Sports News, Evening Standard, The Independent and Archant and KM media Group have embarked on the 20 week fast-track course – meaning they are qualified trainees before entering the newsroom.

The apprenticeship is aimed at those wishing to pursue a career in journalism, including school leavers and graduates of non-journalism disciplines, and will last a minimum of 18 months, with apprentices achieving the highly regarded NCTJ Diploma in Journalism and an apprenticeship certificate. The NCTJ Diploma is the industry benchmark of quality.

Apprentices will study at our inspirational campuses while also benefiting from our Executive Guest Speaker Series, which has recently included England manager Gareth Southgate, 1966 England World Cup winner George Cohen and Sky Sports News’ Hayley McQueen. Students have also made visits to court and met Sadiq Khan at Mayor’s Question Time, and visited a Q&A with Andrew Marr and George Osbourne.

Click here for the programme flyer.


The content below is an example with full and final details to be outlined on sign up.


Essential Journalism: Knowing where to find stories and who to get comment from is rule number one for any journalist. Topics include: writing and sourcing original stories; using audience analytics in day-to-day work; completing work to deadlines; interviewing; writing for digital and social media platforms; taking photographs and shooting video and using a smartphone or other mobile devices for mobile journalism

Essential Journalism Ethics: Recognising where ethical issues arise, understanding news gathering and the impact it has on people’s lives and on a journalist’s personal reputation

Essential Media Law and Regulation: Here you’ll focus on every day legal and regulatory challenges facing PRs and journalists operating in the UK. Topics include: contempt, defamation, privacy and confidentiality; reporting sexual offences; using hidden cameras; reporting on juveniles aged under 18; introduction to court reporting.

Shorthand: Equipping trainees with the fundamental ability to take notes in Teeline – the industry recognised system of shorthand, and an essential skill for news and court reporting. Tested speeds include 60 words per minute, 100wpm (Gold Standard), 110wpm and 120wpm.

Essential Public Affairs: Understanding the structure and mechanisms of local and central government is a vital skill for a news reporter, especially when holding politicians to account. Topics include: the passing of laws in parliament; impact of local government departments (planning, education, sports and leisure); the NHS; Home Office; the EU; devolved parliaments; the UN and taxation.

Court Reporting: This module equips trainees with the legal knowledge required to safely cover court cases, tribunals, inquests and public inquiries. Topics include: contempt; defamation; challenging court orders; the principle of open justice and rights of access to courts.


Broadcast Journalism (double module): Learn how to research, write and produce high-quality reports for radio and television that comply with OFCOM requirements. Topics include: script writing; interviewing for broadcast; presenting for radio and TV; understanding the set-up of radio and TV studios and mastering basic technology; understanding broadcast regulation and familiarity with the terminology of a broadcaster.

Production Journalism: It’s not uncommon for news reporters to now play a big part in the production of newspapers, including page design and sub-editing. Topics include: editing and manipulate copy using InDesign; editing stories for print and online; rewriting stories; identifying legal and ethical issues; ensuring stories meet style guidelines; fact checking and proof reading copy.

Sports Journalism: Producing different types of stories required at each point of the news cycle from preview through to live report to inquest. Topics include: understanding sport politics and public affairs; match reporting; effective coverage of press conferences; sport feature writing; file live reports for various platforms and moderate and publish user generated content.

Apprenticeship module

End Point Assessment: This will be a work based project carried out in the last six weeks of the apprenticeship, and will showcase your journalistic skills. It can be presented on any platform including print, online, broadcast or social media.

Mode of delivery+

Block release over 20 weeks – four days per week campus study at UCFB Wembley or UCFB Etihad Campus, and Fridays and UCFB holidays in the work place. (For students undertaking Broadcast Journalism, this is five days per week, with UCFB holidays in the workplace.)
Other modes of delivery (e.g. day release, or study blocks) will also be considered depending on demand.


The course uses £12,000 of the apprenticeship levy.


Roz McKenzie, Programme Leader

Roz is a former national newspaper reporter and NCTJ course leader at UCFB. She has pioneered journalism apprenticeships with BBC Radio 4, The Independent, Evening Standard, Sky Sports News, The Telegraph and Archant among others. She is an NCTJ board director, member of Society of Editors, London Press Club and NCTJ external examiner

Dave King, Sport Journalism Lecturer

Dave is a former regional newspaper editor who teaches on both the NCTJ and degree courses at UCFB. He was previously programme leader for the NCTJ course at Highbury College in Portsmouth, and is the NCTJ’s chief examiner for sport journalism.

Simon Fitzjohn, Sport Journalism Lecturer

Simon is a highly respected former sport reporter who covered a range of sports while working for Newsquest South London, and also covered London rugby league for national papers, including The Sun and the Mail On Sunday. Simon was head of journalism at Harlow College, where he won a Pearson Teaching Award, before joining UCFB in June 2016.

Neil Silver, Head of Complementary Curriculum, Employability & Media

Neil is an award-winning journalist who worked for a number of national newspapers before moving into education and NCTJ journalism training. He has covered events such as football’s World Cup finals in Japan and South Korea and the Athens Olympic Games. Neil still works in the industry part-time as a football reporter for The Sun.

Mick Kelly, Broadcast Journalism Lecturer

Mick has 20 years’ experience in factual television. His credits include associate producer on The Real Brian Clough for Channel 4, which was voted Broadcast Magazine’s Sports Programme of the Year. He started to teach broadcasting in 2012 when he launched the NCTJ’s broadcast journalism module at Harlow College, before joining UCFB in July 2015.

Robin Bailey, Radio Lecturer

Robin has been a journalist and broadcaster for 35 years, progressing from regional newspapers as a news reporter, sub editor and sports editor to local and national radio and TV at BBC and ITV.  He also runs Capricorn Media, specialising in media training, communications training and broadcast training for professionals in business and sport.

*The above content is subject to validation


“We are delighted with the progress our four journalism apprentices are making on their course at UCFB. For non-graduates to undertake the fast-track NCTJ diploma course is not easy but we have found it preferable to run the apprenticeship in this way, front-loading the scheme with the academic elements.

Roz McKenzie and the team at UCFB are alive to the intensity of the course and the potential pressures it puts apprentices under – but their personal support of the young people in their charge and the quality of their teaching is impeccable. Our apprentices have thrived as a result, and the progress they are making shows through when they return to our newsroom each Friday.

As employers we are apprised of progress at regular intervals, both via written updates and regular visits by Roz to the newsroom. She is in touch additionally if ever an issue arises that requires speedy discussion.”

Will Gore
Deputy Managing Editor
The Independent & London Evening Standard

Download the NCTJ Apprenticeship in Journalism brochure by clicking here.