Journalism apprenticeship: Level 5 Journalist programme

Go from watching the news to breaking the news with entry-level journalism apprenticeship training from PA Media

We believe strongly in the power of journalism apprenticeships to transform newsrooms and build healthy news organisations. We work hand-in-hand with the news industry to deliver apprentice training that is relevant, engaging, and ensures all apprentices achieve the high standards that PA Media is known for. Our apprentices regularly win awards at the NCTJ Awards for Excellence.

The Level 5 Journalist apprenticeship programme equips entry-level journalists with everything they need to succeed and can be studied in a block-release or day-release format. Over 15 months, apprentices complete their NCTJ Diploma in Journalism, and grow their skills and confidence in the newsroom as they build a strong portfolio of journalistic work. They then go on to complete a substantial piece of published work that showcases the knowledge, skills and behaviour they’ve built through their journalism apprenticeship, and helps launch the next stage of their career. Read more about the L5 Journalist Apprentice standard at the Institute for Apprenticeships.

NCTJ Diploma modules include:
• Essential Journalism
• Essential Media Law and Regulation
• Court Reporting
• Essential Journalism Ethics and Regulation
• Journalism for a Digital Audience
• Public Affairs (option)
• VideoJournalism (option)
• Sports Journalism (option)
• Business and Finance Journalism (option)
• Data Journalism (option)
• Broadcast Journalism (option)
• Radio Journalism (option)
• TV Journalism (option)
• Shorthand to 100-words-a-minute (option)

Option availability depends on whether apprentices are studying block- or day-release, whether they are training remote or in-person, the combination of modules requested, and the make-up of the apprentice cohort. We are always happy to talk to employers who wish to train their own “closed” cohorts of 12 or more apprentices.

PA Media Academy is proud to support News UK, The BBC, The FT, The Telegraph, Bloomberg, ESI Media, the i, ITN, and other leading media organisations with delivering their journalism apprenticeship programmes.

We are committed to working in partnership with employers, and work with teams of all sizes to help navigate the administrative, recruitment and onboarding elements of apprenticeships. We are happy to promote vacancies on the government’s Find An Apprentice website and also to assist with checking candidates’ eligibility for a levy-funded apprenticeship programme.

PA Media Academy is pleased to provide complementary training for apprentices’ line managers to enhance their understanding of how apprenticeships work and they can best support their apprentice’s development. We also run regular safeguarding briefings for managers.

Course Modules

What apprentices learn

  1. All L5 Journalist apprentices complete the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism
  2. Apprentices can join us for 19-week block release training (includes shorthand)
  3. Or choose weekly day-release training that begins with a two-week, in-person bootcamp
  4. Broadcast apprentices can take modules in television, radio and regulation
  5. Apprentices, line managers and tutors meet every three months to discuss progress

Information for employers

  1. We work with employers based throughout the UK
  2. We start two “open” cohorts of L5 Journalist apprentices each year in February and September
  3. If you have more than 12 apprentices, talk to us about a bespoke cohort
  4. We can support you through the apprentice process if you’re new to it
  5. Our apprentices go on to achieve awards and promotions – they are truly inspiring

Information for apprentices

  1. Apprenticeships are a brilliant way to learn while you earn, making media careers more accessible
  2. You don’t need journalism qualifications – but you should be interested in the media
  3. You cannot apply for an apprenticeship with the PA Media Academy directly
  4. Instead, visit Find an Apprenticeship and search for Journalism opportunities
  5. You can also check the websites and social media of employers directly

Apprenticeship FAQs

Do employers pay for training?

If your organisation pays the Apprenticeship Levy, then you do not need to contribute to training costs for your apprentices in England. If your organisation does not pay the levy, then you will need to contribute 5% of the training costs for your apprentices in England

Can I train apprentices outside England?

Yes, we are happy to work with you on this. You will not however be able to fund them through the Apprentice Levy

How can I apply for an apprenticeship?

PA Media does recruit apprentices who work for the PA Media agency newsroom. You’ll find any vacancies here.

But the PA Media Academy is not involved in any apprentice recruitment. We are the training provider, not the employer.

Are you inspected by Ofsted?

Yes, we were last inspected in September 2023 and awarded ‘Good’ in all areas. You can read the report here, or search under our legal name, The Press Association Ltd

What our students say

View all testimonials

I learned to write concise articles and features, while developing my skills in social media, interviewing sources, and producing stories for an increasingly online audience. The course has allowed me to start a full-time journalism career.

Jonathan Moynihan
, Social Media Producer
, Forces News

The teaching I received was second to none and despite having no experience whatsoever in journalism, the tutors made sure there was a friendly environment where I felt welcome to ask any questions I needed. I was able to finish the course and go into a job working for The Sun.

Olivia Allhusen
, Junior Journalist
, The Sun

It’s a great place to make connections – networking with teachers, guest speakers and fellow students can be key to gaining advice or even job opportunities during and after the course. 

James Saunders
, Digital News Reporter
, GB News 

The small class sizes nurture a comfortable environment where everyone supports and learns from each other. The staff helped me hone in on my writing skills and develop the confidence to feel comfortable on camera.

Camilla Foster
, Reporter
, Newsquest

I made amazing friends, amazing memories and now it has led me to an amazing job which I never would have gotten without my time at Press Association.  

Holly Bishop
, Digital Reporter
, GB News

The team is flexible, slick, well-resourced and overall simply first class. Their expertise and knowledge have been invaluable. I was delighted with our choice, so I’d have no hesitation in recommending them

Prostate Cancer UK
, Head of External Relations

Contact us

For more information , simply fill out the form and a member of our team will be in touch.

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