The most important question you should ask when considering a journalism course is exactly this - what are the chances of getting a job at the end of it?
The truth is - with the PA Training behind you - your chances are very good. You will still need to be determined, work hard, and most importantly, seriously apply for jobs in the right places. We can assist you with that, and you will have the benefit of our contacts with news organisations across the country in getting that first, crucial job.
Training with us is a mark of distinction. Editors value the skills our graduates can bring straight to the workplace. Many of them will have trained with us themselves, or if not, they will know many journalists who have. Our courses are fully accredited, and grant you a diploma which carries serious weight with employers.
But why take just our word for it? Below, you will see some of the many graduates of our course who have gone on to successful careers in journalism.
Where are they now?
Dylan Dronfield: Senior News Editor, Sky News
“I strongly believe that the course in Newcastle gave me the best possible start to my career."
"Based in the offices of one of the country’s leading regional newspapers, it taught me an excellent mix of practical skills as well as the important perennials of law, shorthand and local Government. Newcastle is a very newsy city and we had to cut our teeth as reporters by digging out stories from our own designated patch. Guided by excellent course tutors and with full access to the advice of news editors and reporters on the newspapers, I learned a huge amount in a very short time. It meant I hit the ground running when our jobs started for real. What really struck me about the course was that the staff who taught us, the people whose building we were based in and the guests who came to speak to us were all actively engaged in journalism. It was not classroom stuff - it was real, it was practical and it was bristling with enthusiasm. The best start anyone could wish for.”
Alan Selby: Reporter, Daily Mirror
"Since starting the PA course in Newcastle I've won the NCTJ Student Journalist of the Year award, been named Trinity Mirror's Young Journalist of the Year and been shortlisted for the national Press Awards' Young Journalist of the Year. I doubt I'd have been able to do any of it without the training I got on the Press Association course."
"It really is a baptism of fire, but in a few short, extremely intensive months I know I got first-class training that properly equipped me for the real world of journalism. It really is streets ahead of any other course out there, as evidenced by all the people I now work with who started out in Newcastle."
Tallulah Berry: BBC World Service
"Without the PA course I certainly wouldn’t be where I am now."
"In the current climate choosing to be a journalist is tougher than ever but the support that each student received at PA helped us all to get that much closer to achieving our goals."
Tom Newton Dunn: Political Editor, The Sun
"I learned the craft of news reporting at Newcastle from some fantastic professionals, whose wisdom I have always kept with me."
"Their same skills and principles - so powerfully imparted - always apply, whether it's on a cold and miserable celebrity doorstep, a conflict zone of Iraq or Afghanistan, or Westminster's corridors of power. Being bang in the middle of a raw and vibrant city in the North East is also fantastic place to try to hone those fledgling skills."
Jemma Crew: Multimedia Reporter, Press Association
"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."
George Martin: News Reporter, Daily Star
“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.
Laura Pitel : Political Correspondent at The Times
"I came to the PA training course in Newcastle en route to The Times, where I'd just been taken on as a graduate trainee. It set me up brilliantly for life in a national newsroom."
"From the get-go we were sitting in court hearings, knocking on doors, bringing in real stories and getting them into the Evening Chronicle and Journal, the two papers housed a few floors above the training centre. To this day I still rely on many of the skills - and tricks of the trade - that I learnt from my brilliant tutors."
Charlotte Duckworth: Managing Editor HousetoHome
"I landed a job as a sub-editor straight after leaving, feeling confident in my skills and ability."
"It's hard to believe that you can learn so much in such a short period of time, but with the emphasis on practical tasks rather than endless lectures and theory, you really do pick things up quickly - and most importantly, you remember them!"
For three years Charlotte was the Managing Editor of IPC’s homes network, working on the ground-breaking homes portal, housetohome.co.uk, from its launch. It is now the UK’s largest consumer interiors website.
On my time working on the sites, she created hundreds of pieces of content, on all manner of home interest topics – from commissioning bespoke kitchens to how to avoid the most common DIY mistakes. She also undertook several video interviews of high-profile industry experts, such as Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen.
Catherine Wyatt: Trainee Journalist, Press Association
"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."
Dave Clark: Diplomatic correspondent, AFP
"Working around the world for AFP, from the wreckage of post-earthquake Haiti to the billionaires' economic summit in Davos, I've met and worked with graduates of some of the biggest journalism schools in Paris and New York. None of them, however, had as good a grounding as I received at PA Newcastle in news gathering basics: pointed questioning, tight writing; and fast shorthand."
"I still fall back on my training every day, and I'm the envy of my colleagues and rivals when I jot down soldiers' quotes in T-line in the back of an APC rolling through Basra or dictate a snappy intro by phone from a champagne reception at the Monaco royal wedding."
Dave Clark, who completed the course in 1996, is a foreign correspondent for the international news wire AFP and has just taken up a role covering foreign policy in Washington DC, part of the State Department press pool.
He has been a reporter, news editor and bureau chief in several countries, including France, Nigeria and Iraq, and was imprisoned for five days while covering the rebellion and NATO intervention in Libya.
Madeline Ratcliffe: Producer, Sky News
"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."
Nils Pratley: Financial Editor, The Guardian
"I took the course in 1990, got a reporting job immediately afterwards on a trade mag, Retail Week, and moved to the Daily Telegraph two years later. I've worked for three other nationals in a variety of roles since."
Fraser Whieldon: Reporter, The Herts Advertiser
"I cannot recommend the PA course enough. The quality of teaching was some of the best I've ever had. Whilst it was very intensive, I think that atmosphere really helped prepare me for the heated and busy world of the newsroom. Additionally, the PA course has an immense focus on employability and getting a job, which is ultimately the reason you go on one of these courses. Without the teaching, without the experience, and without PA's connections, I would not have had a chance of finding a job as a journalist."
Georgia Arlott: News Reporter ITV News
"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."
After completing the London NCTJ course in December 2012, Georgia was offered a job with the Coventry Telegraph. After a successful year she was then recruited by ITV News for an on-screen reporting role in their Midlands newsroom.
Alicia Watts: Video Researcher, MailOnline
"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."
Kate Foley: Assistant Editor at Living North Magazines
"The Press Association course in Newcastle was the best introduction to journalism I could have hoped for."
"On leaving the course I went into magazines rather than newspapers, which just shows that the skills you learn in the PA newsroom aren't just for those looking at a career in regional or national newspapers. They can take you wherever you want to go."
Rhian Lubin: Reporter, Daily Mirror
“I had no idea that I would learn so much in 17 weeks and come away feeling (almost!) ready for work. I have met some wonderful, talented people on this course and the tutors have been so supportive – and such a laugh. I can see why it’s the best course in the country. I’ll never forget it.”
Cath Murray: Managing Editor, Netmums
"The course was thorough and fast-paced, and is not for the faint-hearted. But if you are dedicated to making it in the world of journalism, this is probably one of the best places to start."
Jon Bennett: Former News Editor, Sky
"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."
Jack Hardy: Trainee Reporter, Press Association
"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."
"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."
Laura Dennison: Trainee Reporter, SNAP.PA
"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."
James Jordan: News editor, ITV News - Home, foreign and Westminster
"I was the Chronicle trainee on the course at Newcastle at the end of the last millennium, and not a day goes by when I don't recall a lesson from my time in Thomson House."
"I learned vital skills, standards and a love for journalism from a group of talented and passionate tutors and I shall be forever grateful.
"Many of the messages now being drummed into my young journalists at ITN come straight from the course at Newcastle: speed and accuracy; accuracy and speed; energy; style; a sense of fun; and the often overlooked art of timekeeping.
"Mass media is in a constant state of flux but the skills taught on the course remain vital to anyone who's serious about getting in to journalism regardless of the medium."
Michael Owens: Sub-editor, Daily Mail
"It's no exaggeration to say that I use the skills I learnt on the PA course in Newcastle constantly – from shorthand to law to how to write stories."
"You spend the 17 weeks working with fantastic young journalists in an environment that is more like a day in the office than a day in a classroom listening to lectures. What I also found invaluable was the chance to bring in and write my own stories for the papers in Newcastle.
"All in all, it means that on your first day at work you don't just have your qualifications – you also have the confidence to know what you're doing in the newsroom. That is something you will appreciate and your editor will too."
Doug Faulkner: Reporter, Eastern Daily Press
"I attended the Press Association Training Course in Newcastle in Spring 2014 and thanks to my time there, I was named NCTJ Student Journalist of the Year for my exam performance."
"Despite having gone to Newcastle with nearly a year of newsroom experience, I still found the course to be very useful. I particularly appreciated being guided through shorthand and law - two subjects it would be very difficult to study by yourself.
"Having the opportunity to work on the Chronicle, The Journal and the Sunday Sun was excellent for ticking off the portfolio and it was nice to see the workings of a different newsroom.
"The PA team really do care about their trainees and have been there and seen it all before so know how to get you through your exams."
Raf Sanchez: Foreign Correspondent, The Telegraph
"The PA course teaches what you need to know to get a foot in the door in the industry."
"I left the PA Training in Newcastle with the hard skills that editors are looking for in trainee reporters. From door knocking to media law to filing clean copy.
"The PA course teaches what you need to know to get a foot in the door in the industry. Soon after graduating from the PA course I was accepted onto the Telegraph graduate scheme and then posted to Washington as a foreign correspondent."
Kim Megson: News Editor, CLAD Magazine
"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."
Daniel Davies: Deputy Editor, Factor Magazine.
"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."
"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