This is what our former trainees say about the course.
Kiro Evans - 'My copy improved dramatically, as I was taught the dynamics of news writing, both in a theoretical and practical sense'
I had no idea what to expect when I signed up for the Press Association's NCTJ course. I knew that gaining the qualification would help land a job, but not much besides that.
It did indeed help my job prospects, but that was only about 1% of what I took out of the course. All in 17 weeks, I was given a whole new appreciation for news and how it functioned, I gradually learnt what precisely a story is and what skills I needed to be able to find one.
My copy improved dramatically, as I was taught the dynamics of news writing, both in a theoretical and practical sense. After a few weeks I found I could knock out a story with far less difficulty than before.
My communication skills increased ten-fold, helped largely by the fact that every day I was around fellow journalists, many with similar interests and ambitions.
And, of course, I was blessed with shorthand, an ability which I gained only after several weeks of agonising frustration. But as I am now set to head into courts and tribunals with regularity, it has revealed to be an indispensable skill.
But this is not a course for the faint-hearted. If you cannot drag yourself out of bed every day for an early start and if you are not organised enough to balance a workload which will build from week to week, than this course may not be for you.
But if you do have those attributes, it's the best first step before becoming a journo.
Kiro Evans // Trainee journalist at The Sun
Rebekah Evans - 'In just 17 weeks I honed my craft with the help and guidance of the tutorial team, whose support is second to none'
The course at PA Training was undoubtedly a whirlwind but one which I relished greatly, and have come to look back fondly upon – even if it was incredibly intense at the time!
Having always known journalism was for me, I was determined to solidify my skill set after my degree – and there was no better place to do so than PA Training, with the prestige, reputation and incredible weight the name carries in the industry.
I was blessed to immediately hit the ground running on the Diploma course and, even in what seems like such a short period of time, I gained an immense amount of knowledge. I even became a surprising fan of media law, which I never would have imagined!
In just 17 weeks I honed my craft with the help and guidance of the tutorial team, whose support is second to none. I have also truly made friends for life.
I do not underestimate the impact this course has had on my professional life. It propelled me headlong into a career – my first full-time role working in a national newsroom – and with the skills I need to make an impact.
If you want to further yourself, learn an incredible amount and develop valuable skills for the future, this is the perfect place to do so.
Rebekah Evans // News reporter Daily Express online
Rianna Croxford - 'PA training allows you to hit the ground running in every newsroom'
PA Training has given me the confidence and solid grounding needed to become a great journalist. The name is well-known for a reason: PA training allows you to hit the ground running in every newsroom. And I could never forget the Journalism Diversity Fund - whose support made becoming a journalist a possibility.
Rianna Croxford // Award-winning BBC news journalist
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
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 // BuzzFeed, news reporter
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
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 - '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
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
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
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
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
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
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 // Digital editor, MyLondon
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