Darlington College has received a national award for the excellence of its training of young journalists employed by the Newsquest group.
The Association of Colleges handed over the Beacon Award to the college’s media department.
Each year, Newsquest sends about two dozen young journalists to Darlington for an intensive five-month version of the NCTJ’s pre-entry course. Darlington also hosts a series of three-day refreshers twice a year for the company’s journalists.
Margaret Strayton, group managing editor of Newsquest Media, told the gathering: “We wanted to make sure our employees were getting more than the basic training they need, and that is why we chose to link up with Darlington College.
“The proof is in our results over the past three years, with a more than 80 per cent pass rate, compared to the national average of 40 per cent.”
Guest speaker Wendy Gibson, a presenter for the BBC in the North East, stressed the importance of training and praised the facilities at Darlington.
The college’s head of journalism, media and the arts, Tony Metcalf, received the award and a cheque for £4,200 which will be spent on further improving the link between the college and Newsquest.
The event also marked the launch of the college’s Centre of Vocational Excellence in digital media and design. Metcalf said hundreds of thousands of pounds had been spent on state-of-the-art facilities such as 52 G4 Apple Macs and a digital TV studio.