Some national newspapers offer a small number of places on graduate trainee schemes.
Some national newspapers offer a small number of places on graduate trainee schemes. These offer young journalists the unrivalled opportunity to train in the thick of large, professional newsrooms. They also offer more security than freelance shift work as you’ll be on a contract for a year or two.
However clever you are, don’t kid yourself that you’re definitely going to get a spot on one of these schemes. There are probably fewer than 25 places nationwide. If you’re applying, have a back-up plan.
Successful applicants often have a postgrad journalism qualification, shorthand and loads of work experience and cuttings. You’ll probably need a mix of both local and national experience, and your cuttings should reflect this. You’ll find it tricky if you don’t have national bylines, but a local splash is always impressive.
Schemes aren’t the only way of cracking Fleet Street. You can freelance or just apply to normal jobs as they become available. But knowing that you’re going to be on a training programme at a national paper is a pretty comfortable position to be in.
Below is a list of available schemes. Apply to all of them. Don’t be picky.
The Mail offers reporter and sub-editor schemes. Both are a year long. Sub-editors spend time training at the Press Association’s Howden centre in Yorkshire, while reporters are sent straight out to a regional newspaper. After training, subs then join the regionals, before everyone returns to work in London.
Places: Reporters 6. Sub-editors 6
The Daily Telegraph
The Telegraph offers a two-year long reporting scheme. Trainees spend seven weeks with the Press Association in Howden, before either returning to London or moving to a regional paper. At some point, every trainee works at a regional. Time in London is spent moving through departments, so expect to write for news, sport, business and features.
The Sun restarted its graduate scheme in 2011. Trainee reporters do not go to regional newspapers. Instead they are trained in-house, spending two years rotating through The Sun’s departments and possibly working in the Glasgow and Dublin offices.
The Times’ trainee scheme is much the same as The Sun’s. Trainees spend two years on rotation around The Times’ departments in London. The Times rarely has space for more than two recruits, so your application had better stand out.
The Financial Times
The FT didn’t run a scheme in 2012, but claims that it will have one open for 2013. Trainees spend six weeks training before joining the FT to write for print and online. The programme runs for two years. Within that time, there is the chance to go abroad.