What trainees said about the course

Read the great things our former trainees have said about our three courses and what it meant for their careers

Georgia Chambers

Georgia Chambers - 'I left PA with more confidence in myself and in my profession, knowing I will be able to walk into any newsroom with the capabilities to thrive as a journalist.'

Reflecting upon my 17 weeks at PA, I realise I walked into the office every day loving every minute of what I was doing, and it’s not often you get the chance to say that about your work. From a relentless syllabus of law and government to dreaded shorthand practice, whilst I’m not sure it got any easier; it certainly became more enjoyable with each passing day and my tutors encouraged me to the point where I had no doubt in my mind that I was more than capable of achieving. 

The tutors are not joking when they say the course is intense, but this is all in preparation for the kind of pace you will be expected to work at in a newsroom environment. How they manage to cram in so much training into 17 weeks is quite remarkable, and from workshops in data journalism to video and radio production, they make sure no specialism of journalism, however niche, is left neglected. As cliché as it sounds, the skills I’ve learned and the contacts I’ve made will last a lifetime.

My fellow trainees became my friends, fan base and support network and their incredible talents have made me very excited about what they have to offer the future of journalism. I left PA with more confidence in myself and in my profession, knowing I will be able to walk into any newsroom with the capabilities to thrive as a journalist. 

Georgia Chambers // Ex Trainee, Autumn 2017

Jess Sheldon

Jess Sheldon - ''Doing the course gave me the confidence that I needed to enter into the world of journalism and to apply for jobs that, four months earlier, I thought I would never be able to get.''

I'd heard great things about the course so I knew it was the right decision for me before I had started, but PA still managed to exceed my expectations. From the advice and contacts that the tutors show they have genuine interest that they have in each and every student, it would be hard not to feel thoroughly supported by the PA Training team. They really do go above and beyond to help you - even after the 17 weeks are over. 

Most importantly, doing the course gave me the confidence that I needed to enter into the world of journalism and to apply for jobs that, four months earlier, I thought I would never be able to get. The course is so sociable too, which is really important, and we all came away with friends for life.

The course is hands-on from the start, and it was easily the most productive 17 weeks of my life. Now that I'm putting the skills I've learnt into practice full-time, I can see just how crucial each of the modules are - and learning shorthand has made my life so much easier. I chose the fast-track NCTJ because I felt it would be much more practical than a masters, and it was definitely the right decision for me. The Press Association is a well respected name, and I think having the association with them can really make journalists stand out.

Jess Sheldon // Showbiz Reporter, Daily Express

Conor Matchett

Conor Matchett - 'I wouldn't feel anywhere near as confident in finding a job'

Wow, where do I start. I have learned an awful lot. But putting Law, government and shorthand aside, I think confidence has been the area I have improved the most in. 

Having your copy and work being discussed in front of your peers seemed daunting at first. However, this experience made me recognise my skills as well as acknowledge the things I need to work on and prepared me for the real world of journalism (where not everybody is going to agree with your ideas/opinions). 

The help and support from tutors at PA, has been invaluable, they gave me a push when I needed it and a listening ear when things got stressful. 

Conor Matchett // Junior Reporter, Eastern Daily Express

Charles Capel

Charles Capel - 'There really is no better place to train in journalism than with the Press Association'

The tutors were real journalists who love the industry and they always had a moment to sit down with you to chat or give advice. Using decades of experience, the tutors always had anecdotes or examples to back up what they were telling you. There really is no better place to train in journalism than with the Press Association. 

The NCTJ course was the kickstart I needed to get ahead in journalism. In today’s industry competency in video, digital journalism, and data is just as important as writing a great article. Training with PA opened doors that would have otherwise been closed.

Training with the next generation of journalists is a real honour, I have made some great friends (and contacts) for life.

Charles Capel // Internship (Business desk), CNN International

Ally Darlow

Ally Darlow - 'Hands down I'd recommend it to anyone interested in journalism.'

The last 17 weeks have been absolutely amazing. I've met so many people - students and tutors - that have really helped and inspired me along the way. I couldn't have asked for a more enjoyable, memorable and exciting experience than the one I've had at PA. Hands down I'd recommend it to anyone interested in journalism. 

I went into the course not knowing what to expect and questioning my ability and came out confident that I could go into my ideal career choice. A couple of months after the course and I've got my first job in the industry that I previously thought was impossible to break into and I have the incredible tutoring of PA to thank for it.

Ally Darlow // Full time Freelancer, Snack Media

Olivia Gantzer

Olivia Gantzer - 'Deciding to start the course was, without a doubt, one of the best decisions I’ve ever made'

During the four months I spent at PA I learned everything I needed to learn to land my dream career as a journalist.  In my short time there, the passion I already had for news was ignited; I was given such a grounding for all areas of journalism and I was able to learn a skill as essential to my career as shorthand in such a short space of time. Deciding to start the course was, without a doubt, one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. 

On top of the essential skills and news sense that I was able to develop on the course, I also had so much fun and made lifelong friends. I was so lucky to be able to get a job so soon after the course ended which I know I would never have been able to get without such an important qualification from a respected establishment. It’s crazy to think how many doors the course has opened for me – it really is a life changer.

Olivia Gantzer // Reporter, Archant - Bexley Times, Bromley Times, Gravesend Reporter

Shamaan Freeman-Powel

Shamaan Freeman-Powell - 'The help and support from tutors at PA has been invaluable'

Wow, where do I start. I have learned an awful lot. But putting Law, government and shorthand aside, I think confidence has been the area I have improved the most in. 

Having your copy and work being discussed in front of your peers seemed daunting at first. However, this experience made me recognise my skills as well as acknowledge the things I need to work on and prepared me for the real world of journalism (where not everybody is going to agree with your ideas/opinions)

The help and support from tutors at PA, specifically Mark & Fiona has been invaluable, they gave me a push when I needed it and a listening ear when things got stressful. 

Shamaan Freeman-Powel // Trainee Researcher, BBC Home Affairs Team

Sam Preston

Sam Preston - 'I would recommend this course to any aspiring journalist'

The course was an amazing opportunity to learn a wide range of new skills from hugely experienced tutors. My standard of writing has improved dramatically and I have been exposed to new areas of the media such as video, radio, sub-editing and data journalism. 

I would recommend this course to any aspiring journalist. I made friends on the course that I hope to have for life. 

Sam Preston // Ex Trainee, Autumn 2017

Loretta Thomas

Loretta Thomas - 'I arrived knowing nothing and left feeling knowledgeable about what is required of me to approach my desired career in journalism'

I attended the NCTJ Diploma in News reporting at the Press Association with absolutely no clue as to what to expect other than my wanting to be a journalist, but completed the course feeling like I received much more than I could have ever imagined. The training I received from my tutors the majority of whom are journalists was second to none. Every tutor gave of themselves freely and willingly to help me and my peers to understand our subjects and achieve our best results.

I have learnt that I posses a tenacity and determination that I may have never discovered if I had not embarked upon my journey of learning and career change. I never profess to know everything but one thing I do know, that it was a blessing to have undertaken the NCTJ News Reporting Diploma at the Press Association because the name alone speaks for itself. 

I completed my course realizing that I arrived knowing nothing and left feeling knowledgeable about what is required of me to approach my desired career in journalism. 

I started with the best and believe I can only rise from this point onwards. I am truly blessed, it was the beginning of an amazing journey.

Loretta Thomas // Ex Trainee, Autumn 2017 course

George Martin

George Martin "The intensity of the training programme is the perfect preparation for being thrown in at the deep end at a national paper."

“The course has been invaluable in helping me find a job and I would highly recommend it for anyone looking to get more serious about a career in journalism.

"I learnt so much during my 17 weeks at PA, both in terms of technique and also from the myriad of successful journalists who came in to talk to us.

"The intensity of the training programme is the perfect preparation for being thrown in at the deep end at a national paper. Within minutes of starting work I found myself applying the legal theory which had been painstakingly memorised for the NCTJ exams.

"There were plenty of late nights and stressful moments, but I can honestly say it has all been worth it.”

George Martin // Daily Star, News Reporter

Jack Hardy

Jack Hardy - ​"Six months into my first journalism job and I struggle to think of anything the Newcastle PA course failed to prepare me for."

"I'm six months into my first journalism job and I struggle to think of anything the Newcastle PA course failed to prepare me for.

"Everything we learnt was made to fit effortlessly in to 17 weeks. It was impressively comprehensive - leaving me confident in doing everything from court reporting to play reviews - but not remotely rushed.

"The tutors are as integral to the course as the modules themselves. Their support and expertise are an invaluable asset to any aspiring reporter.

I made some fantastic friends and was lucky enough to get a great job as a result of this course, I thoroughly recommend it to anyone considering a career in journalism."

Jack Hardy // News Reporter, Press Association

Jemma Crew

Jemma Crew - "Doing the Newcastle course was the best thing I ever did."

"The Newcastle course was 17 weeks of unrelenting work, practical challenges and fun. The tutors packed an extraordinary amount in, but it never got too much - Paul and Garry's jokes saw to that!

"We were treated like professionals rather than students from day one, and were regularly pitching stories to the news desk upstairs. There were also chances to shift at the Chronicle, Journal and Sunday Sun which gave everyone first-hand experience of what an average day in a newsroom is like (there is no such thing!). If you work hard and follow the tutors' advice then you will thrive.

"Doing the course was the best decision I ever made. I'm now lucky enough to have my dream job as a multimedia reporter on PA's London graduate scheme. I'm so proud of what my friends and I achieved during the course and immensely grateful to the course tutors for their encouragement, which continues even now.

Would I do it again? In a heartbeat."

Jemma Crew // Multimedia Reporter, Press Association

Madeline Ratcliffe

Madeline Ratcliffe - ​"Without a doubt it was the Press Association’s course that gave me the edge to get my job."

"Without a doubt it was the Press Association’s course that gave me the edge to get my job. From the confidence to write to editors asking to meet, and then throw myself into the freelance opportunities offered to me, to an invaluable grounding in reporting skills and law, and endless advice over CVs and covering letters. Not to mention the fantastic, funny and endlessly patient tutors who made it a joy to go in every day and are the best part of this course. Their dedication and enthusiasm was inspiring, and while you will have to be prepared for four months of hard work and full days, they are with you every step of the way. I came away with new friends, a bulging contacts book, and the assurance to sell myself as a journalist."

Madeline Ratcliffe // Producer, Sky News

Alex Goode

Alex Goode - “The best thing about the multimedia magazine course is that it changes with the times. You’re always learning the most relevant and practical skills.”

"Learning how to be a journalist in nine weeks is incredibly intense, but the course leaves you feeling confident and well-prepared for the working world. The tutors are supportive and genuinely interested in seeing you succeed.

"The best thing about the course is that you know you’re learning useful skills that editors want and that other journalists don’t necessarily have. We’re living proof that you can master making an app, website and print magazine in just a few days, as well as learning shorthand, media law, subbing and more!

"This feels very much like a course for the modern journalist and that was reflected in the ambitious and dedicated people I spent my days with. Not only will you have the qualification under your belt, but you’ll also make friends for life."

Alex Goode // Editorial Assistant, The Jamie Oliver Group

Kaye Wiggins

Kaye Wiggins - "Fast-paced, long hours, little sleep and lots of fun"

"Fast-paced, long hours, little sleep and lots of fun: the magazine course was the prefect preparation for a career in journalism. It taught me everything I needed to hit the ground running in my first job."

Kaye Wiggins // Law and Governance Reporter, Thirdsector

Kim Megson

Kim Megson - "I was lucky enough to join an exciting new magazine as a news editor shortly after the course finished, and so far I’m loving it."

If your dream is to become a magazine journalist, I cannot recommend this course highly enough. It’s a big commitment, extremely intensive and often quite stressful, but you leave with a wide range of essential personal and professional skills, enhanced confidence and a group of friends for life. The Press Association tutors are generous with their time and support, and it makes a huge difference. I went from being frankly terrified by shorthand to really enjoying it in just a few short weeks.

The final thing to say about the course is that it really does help you find a job. I was lucky enough to join an exciting new magazine as a news editor shortly after the course finished, and so far I’m loving it. The diploma, and the wide set of multimedia skills I learnt during the course, definitely helped make this possible.

Kim Megson // News Editor, CLAD Magazine

Clara Strunck

Clara Strunck - "​The PA training course was definitely one of the best things I have ever done for my career."

"The PA training course was definitely one of the best things I have ever done for my career. The practical skills – especially shorthand, taught by the fiendish and lovely Sylvia – have turned out to be particularly important. The wonderful Andrew Knight knows everything there is to know about media law, which certainly prepared me for my first job at a national. As well as this, the course encouraged me to think of myself as a proper journalist, which meant I felt more confident pitching to big magazines and national newspapers.

"Undoubtedly one of the best things about PA, however, is the people you meet there – not only can I now count the excellent and established tutors as contacts, but also my brilliant fellow trainees, many of whom I’ve stayed in touch with.

"If you really want to pursue a career as a journalist, I would say that doing your NCTJ diploma at PA is one of the best decisions you can make. You leave qualified, confident and much more employable – and you make some great friends along the way."

Clara Strunck // Freelance Video Journalist

Olawale Kuponipe

Olawale Kuponipe - "I credit all of my journalistic knowledge and skills to the tutors and fellow journalists I met at the Press Association."

"I credit all of my journalistic knowledge and skills to the tutors and fellow journalists I met at the Press Association. It has definitely held me in good stead during my Sports traineeship at PA which I was lucky to get straight after the course. The Press Association took a chance on me and I haven't looked back since.

"As Tony Johnston said from day one, it is not for the faint-heartened and you are tested from the get go but it is certainly the best preparation for any journalist looking to succeed in the newsroom.

"At first, I felt like 17-weeks would not give me enough time to immerse myself into subjects such as Public Affairs and Shorthand but the length of course, as well as the lectures provided, efficiently prepared me for every challenge the world of journalism has thrown out at me. The hands-on, fast-paced course was a preferable option for me rather than going through a year-long masters degree.

"I was so fortunate to meet some amazing people, who I still keep in touch with and all of us have moved on to bigger things due to the guidance and important contacts from other news outlets provided on PA training course.

"The tutors and guest speakers were also invaluable in helping me build my confidence in the newsroom as their expertise and past experiences was vital in my development as a journalist.

"The modules were highly relevant to the current climate of journalism and I still refer back to my shorthand notebook and McNae textbook to help me when needed during my traineeship.

"My advice to anyone applying to the course is prepare for many sleepless nights but as long as your passionate about news, then the PA training course offer the best route into a career in journalism."

Olawale Kuponipe // Trainee Sports Journalist, PA

Sian Elvin

Sian Elvin - "I still use the skills I learned at PA in my job every single day, and it gave me a kickstart to my career with help from some really supportive tutors."

"It wasn’t until I started the NCTJ that I realised the reputation of the Press Association spoke for itself, whether I was talking to other journalists about the course, listening to high-profile speakers who came in, or when I started applying for jobs.

"This, along with the strong teaching structure of the course which gives trainees an excellent chance of passing the NCTJ diploma at a gold standard within just 17 weeks, makes me recommend the London course without hesitation.

"I still use the skills I learned at PA in my job every single day, and it gave me a kickstart to my career with help from some really supportive tutors.

"And most importantly of all, I found the course engaging, exciting and fun."

Sian Elvin // Reporter, Kent Live

Jon Bennet

Jon Bennett - "The 17-weeks I spent training in Newcastle gave me the best possible start to my career."

"The 17-weeks I spent training in Newcastle gave me the best possible start to my career.

"The training centre isn't some chin stroking, theory driven, media studies course. It's a Barry's Boot Camp for hacks and, if you qualify, you will emerge knowing how to generate exclusives, build incredible contacts and break into one of the most competitive industries there is.

"It taught me the fundamentals that I have used every single day in my life as a journalist and gave me the skills to work for newspapers, magazines and in broadcasting."

Jon Bennet // Former News Editor, Sky

Georgia Arlott

Georgia Arlott - "The tutors are experienced, inspiring, entertaining and supportive"

"I never have any hesitation whatsoever in recommending the London Press Association course to aspiring journalists. The teaching is second to none, the course structure is hard work but so rewarding, and the skills that I learnt are of constant use to me. I know I would never have got the fabulous job I am in without it.

"The tutors are experienced, inspiring, entertaining and supportive.

"Most importantly, the course gave me the confidence I needed to succeed, and the skills I will need every single day for the rest of my career."

Georgia Arlott // Reporter, ITV News

Laura Dennison

​Laura Dennison - “The PA course in London has been pretty invaluable for me"

“The PA course in London has been pretty invaluable for me, especially considering that I don’t have a degree.

"Not only did the course afford me great friends (including the tutors!), who I now meet up with regularly, I was also fortunate enough to be offered a job as a trainee reporter at SNAP.PA.

"The course is a lot of hard work and shorthand will probably give you a few sleepless nights, but it’s absolutely worth it in the end.”

Laura Dennison // Trainee Reporter, SNAP.PA

Michael Race

Michael Race - "The teaching is first class."

"Best thing I've ever done.

"The teaching is first class.

"But the atmosphere is even better.

"Only wish the course was longer!

"The course allows you to learn a lot about different types of people in a short space of time."

Michael Race // Oxford Mail

Rosie Bernard

Rosie Bernard - "I left with the skills needed to thrive in the world of journalism and the confidence to rise to any occasion."

"In nine-weeks the course completely changed my life. I left with the skills needed to thrive in the world of journalism and the confidence to rise to any occasion, as well as a brand new set of friends.

"The diploma gives you industry knowledge and contacts you wouldn’t find elsewhere. There’s a reason this course has such a good reputation – it’s in a league of its own."

Rosie Bernard // Online Content Editor, National Federation of Women’s Institutes.

Alicia Watts

Alicia Watts - ​"​I'd never be where I am today without the PA course, it has opened so many doors for me."

"I'd never be where I am today without the PA course, it has opened so many doors for me. The staff are well trained and are all very encouraging. All the hard work pays off in the end, I couldn't recommend it more. I work on video at the MailOnline but also present Facebook live's for Daily Mail's page, and although we only did 1 week of video on the course, I still believe it prepared me for my current role. It has changed my life; I have made lifelong friends and I know I'll always have a rewarding and successful career."

Alicia Watts // Video Researcher, MailOnline

Daniel Davies

Daniel Davies - "From day one you’ll be treated like a professional journalist, and given all the tools you need to be a success in the industry."

"The PA’s fast-track journalism course isn’t a simple taught course. It’s a collaboration between you and journalists with years of experience. From day one you’ll be treated like a professional journalist, and given all the tools you need to be a success in the industry, so your real role is, with the help of the tutors, to decide what type of journalist you want to be and how far down the rabbit hole you want to go."

Daniel Davies // Deputy Editor, Factor Magazine.

Catherine Wyatt

Catherine Wyatt - "Without PA Training I wouldn't have my job. Employers value the name 'PA' and it certainly opens doors."

"Without PA Training I wouldn't have my job. Employers value the name 'PA' and it certainly opens doors. The teachers are supportive and have incredible contacts. They encourage you to aim high and help you get into national newsrooms - on my course people ended up on training schemes at the BBC, the Mirror and the Daily Mail. 

"The course really prepares you for any journalistic situation you might find yourself in - whether that's using shorthand, knowing the legal implications of stories, or the practical elements of knowing how to go out and find a story. My favourite part of the course was the way you're treated like a real, working journalist from day one. For example, on your placement you're fully expected to find and write great stories like a full time reporter. If you work hard and are determined, the PA course is a great way into journalism."

Catherine Wyatt // Trainee Journalist, Press Association

George Clarke

George Clarke "The course with PA was challenging and by no means a stroll in the park."

"The course with PA was challenging and by no means a stroll in the park – and that’s why it was the perfect preparation for working in the fast-paced environment of a national newsroom. 

"The teaching is top drawer and incredibly supportive. The staff are journalists who treat you like peers. They’ve worked everywhere from the BBC and ITV to local papers and everything in between. Due to their vast amount of experience they have the inside track on the industry and help you recognise, develop, refine and publish stories.

"I studied the sport module in London and both Mark and Lee are great teachers. The pair of them have extensive knowledge of how sports reporting works and will test your ability. They treat you like proper journalists and expect you to be on the pulse with everything going on in the world of sport from the AFL to Accrington Stanley."

George Clarke // Trainee Sub editor, Daily Mail Sport

Shamir Patel

Shamir Patel "The course with PA is challenging and definitely not for the faint-hearted."

"The course with PA is challenging and definitely not for the faint-hearted. It is though hugely rewarding, tonnes of fun, and gives you invaluable skills and the confidence to put them into practice. 

"The tutors are top drawer and make sure you are supported throughout the course and even afterwards. The teaching is varied and engaging and always aimed towards preparing you for any journalistic challenge you will come across. 

"You are given a broad understanding of the industry as well as developing practical multimedia skills including media law, the ability to interview all sorts of people, and producing great content. 

"The on-the-job experience you will enjoy on the course, as well as the contacts you will make, also set you apart from the competition when you are ready for the plunge into the big, bad world of journalism.”

Shamir Patel //

Becky Morton

Becky Morton ​ "​The PA course taught me the essential skills I needed to become a journalist and gave me the confidence to throw myself into my placement and pitch stories to the editor.​"

"The PA course taught me the essential skills I needed to become a journalist and gave me the confidence to throw myself into my placement and pitch stories to the editor. The tutors were very supportive and went far beyond just preparing us for our NCTJ exams. They regularly circulated job opportunities and the reputation of PA opened doors by helping my applications stand out. The advice I got when writing applications and preparing for interviews was invaluable and helped me to get a place on the BBC’s trainee scheme."

Becky Morton // BBC Trainee Scheme

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Catherine Wyatt

"Without PA Training I wouldn't have my job. Employers value the name 'PA' and it certainly opens doors. The teachers are supportive and have incredible contacts. They encourage you to aim high and help you get into national newsrooms - on my course people ended up on training schemes at the BBC, the Mirror and the Daily Mail."

Catherine Wyatt // Trainee Journalist, Press Association

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