Monday 24 September 2012, 11:33
And we’re off! The BBC’s Journalism Trainee Scheme - now in its sixth year - is open for applications from today. For a brief two weeks every year, we stand back and wait to see who from the many runners and riders will make it to the finish line.
That’s enough of the sporting metaphor but, in a year which has seen BBC journalism triumph with its Olympics coverage, it is not surprising that so many journalists wish to join us.
So what are we offering? A year’s placement in BBC television, radio and online, to produce a fully multi-skilled broadcast journalist who is ready to compete for jobs within the organisation.
You will be paid and have a senior journalist as a mentor. Training is intense initially - with several weeks at our base at the BBC College of Journalism in White City, followed by online training in Newcastle. Later in the year come radio and TV training and the all-important career and networking guidance to help you find a job.
Who are we looking for? That’s the 64-thousand-dollar question.
I joined the BBC on a six-month contract in 1985 and 27 years later I am still here! Today’s BBC journalists should expect to be fleet of foot - moving around to take every opportunity that might arise.
Two key traits stand out: good writing and a hunger for finding news stories. If you aren’t nosy, always asking questions and able to translate what you find into attention-grabbing output, our scheme probably isn’t for you. For us, it isn’t so much about your degree or journalistic qualification but what work experience you have done - maybe on newspapers or magazines. If you can show us a real commitment to journalism - a passion and potential - we will be interested.
The BBC serves the whole of the UK - and therefore our scheme represents the whole of the UK too. So bring us stories from your own background, particularly if you think the BBC isn’t in touch with those communities. We want you to help the BBC to reach audiences that might not automatically turn to it.
You have to be over 18. We are interested in career changers too. In the past we have had lawyers, teachers and even a doctor, all harbouring ambitions to be BBC journalists and taking a pay cut to come on our scheme and learn the ropes, from the bottom up.
Yes, you will be starting at the bottom as a trainee broadcast journalist, whatever you did before. So if you are expecting the flags to be hung out, to be working nine to five, and to be sent out to interview the Prime Minister on week one, you will be disappointed. That’s not to say you won’t get a chance to interview David Cameron - as our current trainee, presently based in the Midlands, did only two weeks ago - but there will be plenty of run-of-the-mill stories to deal with too.
And when we say you could be based all over the UK, we mean it. As well as our shiny new centre in Salford, and even shinier base at New Broadcasting House in central London, you could be sent to any of our other newsrooms, including Belfast, Cardiff and Glasgow and other regional centres in the UK.
We already know there is plenty of interest, having established a Twitter JTS presence which has seen our number of followers increase daily since the summer. We have also received plenty of email enquiries already.
I’m afraid I can’t delay the start date of the scheme for your long-booked holiday - and, no, we can’t defer your place for a year. You must be ready for interview between 3 and 7 December in London and ready to start the scheme in March 2013.
One year an interviewee flew back from a trip to Australia - a trip he had been saving for for years - and, yes, he did get on the scheme, and is now reporting on sport for the BBC News Channel.
More than 50 trainees have passed through our hands since we launched the scheme in 2007. They are now working all over the UK and beyond: Newsnight, Newsround, Newcastle and News - and that’s just the Ns! They have reported on elections, the Jubilee and the Olympics. And, most importantly, they have been willing to work around the clock and be patient with the many requests the job throws at you.
Our new director-general George Entwistle was a trainee and he remains as passionate about the BBC as when he joined. If you too have a hunger for telling stories, we look forward to reading your application - and perhaps following your future career all the way to the top!
Here’s how to apply.
Friday 21 September 2012, 13:20
Monday 24 September 2012, 12:18