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Jacob Ridley

Monmouth, Wales

Senior Journalist Apprenticeship

Jacob Ridley thought he was done with education, but after working as a journalist for six years, found himself expanding his skills through the Senior Journalist Apprenticeship. Once he’s finished the course, he’d like to further develop his reporting skills, and through that gain confidence to dive into more in-depth and original reporting for his publication.

I've worked as a journalist professionally for six years. During that time, I've learned a lot and experienced different parts of the industry, however, I found that I would come away with loads of useful information from training days I've attended. I've always found there's a lot to learn from senior journalists from other publications and organisations, even during day-long training sessions. When the opportunity arose to study journalism through the University of Sunderland, it seemed a perfect opportunity to supercharge developing my journalism skills.

My favourite part of the course so far has been applying what I've learned during the lectures into the articles I'm writing for work. The time we're given in the afternoon to apply what we've learned in the morning massively helps cement those techniques and concepts in my mind, and I've found myself often returning to these things for further articles I've written. For example, the weeks we spent learning about interactives and how to apply them has meant I've published three articles since with a visual timeline embedded within to help visualise the story for the reader. I think they look fantastic, and my editor does too!

Coming back to study after a 10-year break felt extremely odd to me. To be honest, I was sure that part of my life was done for good. But the University was incredibly welcoming on our first trip to the campus for the course start, and the Faculty are incredibly friendly and happy to answer any questions. It's felt like a good mix of university-style learning and working with us as professionals working in the industry the other four days of the week.

If anyone's in a similar situation to the one I was and wondering whether on the job learning or an apprenticeship like this is for them, I'd say absolutely go for it. I've really felt it to be a big benefit to me having something official to work towards in my work week, and it's felt really rewarding.

I'd like to further develop my reporting skills, and through that gain confidence to dive into more in-depth and original reporting for my publication. I've already done more of this during my time in the apprenticeship so far, so just need to keep the pedal down and the momentum going!

I've found my experience with the University of Sunderland to be a real confidence booster in my day-to-day work. The course is wide-ranging but there's been enough time to focus on more granular parts of journalism in a way that's been super helpful. It's been great so far, I really rate it."

Published 1 August 2023

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