UCFB’s bespoke, sport-focused apprenticeship combines the rigours of world class journalism training with the commercial awareness of PR.

This apprenticeship is aimed at school leavers wishing to pursue a career within sports organisations’ press offices or those already working in these roles who are looking to supplement their experience with a recognised and respected qualification and gain a unique insight into the world of journalism with which they will interact on a daily basis.

The apprenticeship will last a minimum of 18 months and, alongside achievement of the apprenticeship, apprentices will also receive the highly regarded NCTJ Diploma in Journalism – the benchmark of quality in regional and national press.

UCFB is already a leader in training apprentice journalists for media organisations including Sky News, Sky Sports News, the Independent and Evening Standard. 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.


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


PR and Communications: There are a number of fundamental building blocks any sport PR should know to communicate across a variety of media platforms. These include: the role of stakeholders; creating a PR campaign; writing press releases and engaging with the media; using social media; crisis management and understanding legal and ethical obligations of a PR.

Essential Journalism: For any journalist or PR professional, the following essential skills will enable them to produce quality and accurate content, as well as distributing material to the wider media.

These are: 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: It is vital to understand the boundaries journalists deal with and work within. It’s essential to: recognise where ethical issues arise; understand news gathering and the impact it has on people’s lives and on a journalist’s personal reputation; understand the core ingredients of journalism ethics and what is public interest.

Essential Media Law and Regulation: journalists and PRs have to know the legal boundaries they can operate within, for example the pitfalls of libellous comments made at a public meeting or within a Tweet. This module will focus on every day legal and regulatory challenges facing individuals operating in the UK. Topics include: contempt, defamation, privacy confidentiality; reporting sexual offences; using hidden cameras; reporting on juveniles aged under 18 and introduction to court reporting.

Sport Journalism: For sport PRs, producing content for their own websites and media platforms provide a professional gravitas to their output, as well as understanding the demands and strategies of the journalists they are working with. Topics include: understanding sport politics and public affairs; match reporting; effective coverage of press conferences; sport feature writing; filing live reports for various platforms and moderating and publishing user generated content.


Broadcast Journalism (double module): This option will help you understand how broadcasters work, and the regulatory boundaries they live within. For organisations with their own broadcast set-ups, this option will offer a valuable insight into production values and licensing issues. 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.


Essential Public Affairs (single module): Sport is no longer solely what happens on the field, but now encompasses planning laws and government regulation, so understanding its framework is vital, as is the structure and function of local and central government and 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 (single module): There have been a number of high profile court cases involving sport professionals, and it is imperative you understand how the legal system works, and when it is appropriate to make public comment. Topics include: contempt; defamation; challenging court orders; the principle of open justice and rights of access to courts.

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+

Day release or block release campus study for NCTJ Diploma modules. End point assessment to be completed in the workplace.


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.


Download the NCTJ Apprenticeship in Sports PR brochure by clicking here.

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