By Rehema Figueiredo, Journalism Diversity Fund recipient 2014 – 2015
Much as it is difficult to write this as the prospect of six exams in the next two weeks looms over me, there are many advantages of choosing a fast-track NCTJ course.
Having worked full time for a year before starting my course I was keen to get the qualification as quickly as possible but didn’t want to have to sacrifice on the quality of training. I knew the Press Association in London had a good reputation for producing top class journalists and that the course only lasted 17 weeks. I knew it was for me.
Thinking back to the beginning of the course in August it’s pretty amazing to think about how much I have learnt in such a short space of time. In a matter of months I’m up to 110wpm shorthand, have sat a reporting exam, undertaken a placement at a London news website and am feeling confident as I prepare for two law exams in a week’s time.
It hasn’t been easy, particularly as I have balanced working three shifts a week with the course, which runs from 9am to 5pm every day, as well as homework. However, there is a lot to be said for the way that the intensity of a short course prepares you for the work place. There is also a great sense of achievement with each hurdle you overcome and with so many so often it really spurs you on to get to the end.
Amazingly, there has even been time for some non-exam related content on the course, from top journalists visiting as guest speakers to trips to Parliament and video training.
All in all I would highly recommend choosing a condensed course. If you are hoping to work in a high-pressure news room, there really is no better way to prepare.