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The majority of trainees are now recruited into the industry after completing training courses either following A-levels or undergraduate degrees.

NCTJ-accredited courses are held at colleges, universities and independent course providers. Some of these courses are for graduates only; others require five GCSEs including English and two A-levels.

All NCTJ-accredited courses cover the essential media law, public affairs and reporting skills necessary to work as a reporter as well as shorthand, which should be achieved to 100wpm.

Trainee reporters are sometimes recruited directly by the regional press and complete NCTJ training while on the job. Although this route is still available with some newspaper groups it is getting rarer all the time.

If you obtain employment in the regional press following your training, you will probably enter into an 18-month training contract - the first three months is likely to be a probationary period. At the end of the 18-month period you will be expected to sit the NCTJ’s senior qualification, the National Qualification in Journalism (NQJ).

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