Evening Standard Media Diversity Bursary Scheme
This scheme, which was launched by the London Evening Standard and Independent in January 2017 involves two years of training including a 20-week fast-track NCTJ course followed by on-the-job training at the Evening Standard, The Independent and London Live Television. It is supported by four partners – Goldman Sachs, The Peabody Trust, NCTJ Diversity Fund and The Stationers’ Foundation.
It launched with the appointment of four editorial apprentices from a diversity of backgrounds selected from well over 200 applicants. The scheme was open to anyone aged over 16 who had not been to university.
It is great to hear from two more apprentices on this scheme:
Yas Necati writes about Independent Voices:
I had done bits of writing and editing before for smaller publications/blogs. I really enjoyed doing this, and I’ve always wanted to be a writer, so when I heard about the apprenticeship I was very keen to apply. I wanted the skills, experience and training to become a journalist, and since I’ve started my apprenticeship I definitely feel like I’ve learnt a lot.
I’ve picked up new skills from headline writing to editing the letters to the editor page. It has been really exciting writing comment pieces on the Independent Voices desk about subjects I’m passionate about, including feminism, LGBTQ+ issues and party politics. I’ve also written for the culture section on trans characters and stories in theatre, and I’m currently writing a piece about the top 10 vegan cheeses for the food section.
I’ve really struggled with shorthand, but I’m hopefully getting there now. I also struggled a lot with headline writing and commissioning when I first started, and these are things I am continually working on. I hope to continue writing and editing comment pieces, as well as writing for and experiencing working for other desks.
Adebola Lamuye writes on the Evening Standard desk:
I’ve always wanted to work within the media industry, and when I was applying for this role, I knew it was a great opportunity to work within a well-respected organization. But truthfully, when I was applying I didn’t think I would get pass the first stage – so actually getting the apprenticeship was a shocked – it still doesn’t seem real sometimes.
A writing submission piece and a couple of interviews later, and I’m at UCFB starting my NCTJ course whilst going into work every Friday to get used to the newsroom environment. The first 5 months of training was spent at Wembley stadium. And when I say it was intense… It was intense.
I had spent 3 years prior out of education, and working full time, so coming back into that environment, and most importantly into that mindset was something I felt quite difficult. I’m somebody that liked education, but did not like school. However, learning in Wembley was different, the fact that our class was smaller and more intimate, made it easier to learn and ask questions.
Out of all our subjects, the most difficult one would be shorthand. It’s basically learning a new language, and if you don’t believe me, please Google it.
The other subjects included Production, Media Law and Regulations, Public Affairs and Essential Journalism.
Everything we were taught in the first 5 months really does come in handle when dropped into the newsroom. I was confident in myself to go out and find stories and pitch ideas. Having now been in the newsroom for a couple of month, I am fully embed and comfortable, however, I still have goals to achieve; passing my 100 words per minute Shorthand exam and passing my Essential Journalism exam. But like they say, practice makes perfect.
In the photo you can see (from L-R) Safeeyah Kazi, Yas Necati, The Mayor of London, Jessica Morgan and Adebola Lamuye.
Liveryman Doug Wills writes:
Safeeyah Kazi is one of the four young people taken on a two-year editorial apprenticeship with the Evening Standard/The Independent Diversity Bursary Scheme in which Stationers’ is a partner. All four are now gaining on-the-job experience in all editorial departments. Safeeyah was extremely successful during the 20-week National Council for the Training of Journalists Course this year, achieving the NCTJ Gold Standard in Essential Journalism, Essential Media Law, Court Reporting, Production Journalism, Shorthand and Essential Public Affairs. Safeeyah and the other four apprentices are already impressing editorial executives and are contributing much to the titles.
Safeeyah (seen in the photo with The Vamps when working on a story with them) writes:
The 20-week training programme under the NCTJ was definitely a challenging time but in the most enjoyable way for me personally because I felt that all of the skills I was obtaining were directly applicable to the role, particularly having had no prior experience in journalism. All of these skills have been transferable to the workplace and for someone with no experience in the industry the course was invaluable in giving me the training and confidence needed. Following the completion of my course and attainment of my 100WPM some of the highlights of both my personal and professional career have occurred. I recently interviewed artists ‘The Vamps’, ‘Ronan Keating’, ‘The Script’ and ‘Chase and Status’ on the back of contacting the PR myself and pitching this to showbiz, for me this was a massive win in the fact that I finally put all the skills I had learnt in to practice. I also visited a food bank and wrote a piece for Independent Voices, a personal and professional win simply because it’s such an important issue and projecting the voice of those who are struggling beneath our noses is something I am proud to have done. Additionally, I have done stories on Sadiq Khan’s mental health campaign ‘Thrive LDN’, a story on an immersive horror house (which was terrifying) and done some shadowing on the acid stories. Shadowing has been such an asset to me in implementing what I learn from reporters on the job, their wealth of experience is a privilege to learn from. One challenge I experience out on the job was my first ever death-knock with a gentleman who was anything but thrilled to see me. Despite the slight intimidation factor this was a great opportunity for me to put into practice all I had learnt about respecting everyone’s right to grieve and not intruding on that. I was able to remain calm and handle the situation in such a way that it was quickly deescalated which was a personal win.
Safeeyah's archive of work can be seen here