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News UK welcomes first 14 paid placements

News UK yesterday began its rollout of placements for out-of-work young people through the Government’s Kickstart Scheme.

News UK welcomes first 14 paid placements
Mark Hudson: “You shouldn’t have to fight so hard to get a foot in the door in the media industry.” Photograph: The first 14 placements - News UK.

The placements are designed to help young people break into the media, with experience and training across News UK’s editorial and broadcast brands.

The programme – which saw its first 14 recruits join yesterday – will offer six-month placements to 16 to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.

News UK will offer up to 100 placements in 2021, and says it is the first media organisation to sign up to the Kickstart Scheme, which aims to support a generation that has been hit hard by the pandemic into work, and spur Britain’s economic revival.

Mark Hudson, Head of Early Talent at News UK, said: “You shouldn’t have to fight so hard to get a foot in the door in the media industry. Through this scheme, we’re blowing that door right off, and giving young people the tools, experience and confidence they need to land a job in journalism.”

Minister for Employment Mims Davies MP said: “It’s fantastic to see young people begin their Kickstart journey with News UK, working for some of the biggest names in the media industry and in a range of exciting roles with an NCTJ qualification at the end setting them on the road for their future careers.

“Our Plan for Jobs is focused on creating and spreading opportunity as we build back better and with News UK focusing their recruitment outside of London, it is supporting this government’s commitment to level up opportunity across the country.”

In their six months at News UK, the newcomers will experience a blend of working and studying. Each will be given a mentor from the business, career support from the Media Trust and a programme of study from the NCTJ and News Associates.

The first 14 interns will be working on a number of titles and stations. Job titles include digital content assistant at Virgin Radio, broadcast assistant at Times Radio, podcast assistant at talkSPORT, Sun digital journalist and fashion assistant at Fabulous Magazine.

Lee Clayton, Head of talkSPORT, said: “At talkSPORT we want to find and develop raw talent – rather than default to experience – to truly represent the diversity of our audiences. “This scheme is a fantastic way for talkSPORT to build an even more inclusive future, and we are excited to see the valuable contributions these new recruits will make to our output.”

Their learning modules will include gathering information, how to tell a news story, recording information, legal and ethical considerations for journalists, writing for digital media, using audio to tell a story, using video to tell a story, sports reporting and community radio newsgathering.

At the end of the placements, interns will qualify for a certificate of Foundation Journalism, a qualification provided by the NCTJ that is equivalent to an A-Level. News UK will support the interns to access permanent roles in the company and the wider industry, says the company.

Joanne Butcher, chief executive of the NCTJ, said: “We are delighted to partner with News UK on this innovative scheme, which is helping to tackle inequality and break down the barriers of entering the industry. News Associates, which has run outstanding NCTJ-accredited courses for many years, is a brilliant choice of training provider. It is fantastic to see the first recruits start their paid placements today, and we wish them the best of luck as they work towards their Certificate in Foundation Journalism qualification.”

Career coaching will be provided by the Media Trust, while Barnardos will be on hand to provide the interns with pastoral support.

Each intern will be paid the National Minimum Wage. The scheme is subsidised with the Government paying 100 per cent of the National Minimum Wage for a minimum 25-hour week for six months, plus National Insurance and pension contributions.

News UK will pay an additional two days per week, plus providing funding for travel and accommodation where needed.

The next cohort of interns, due to start in September, will be largely sourced from outside of London. Yorkshire, Lancashire and the East and West Midlands are areas of focus for recruitment as News UK aims to use the scheme to offer development opportunities to people who might otherwise struggle to break into the industry.

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