Aspiring journalists are being offered cash help to start their careers from the Journalism Diversity Fund.
Successful applicants could have the cost of the course and examination fees paid for on accredited NCTJ courses, receive contributions to living expenses and gain support from a personal mentor.
To qualify for funding, applicants must prove they are from a socially or ethnically diverse background – and they do no have the financial means to fund themselves.
Funding is also offered on the basis of those who show the “determination, potential and commitment” to succeed as journalists.
In 2011-2012 the fund had 156 applicants and from those 20 people were awarded bursaries.
Of the 2010-2011 intake some are now working on local papers. Of those who have received help since the scheme started in 2005, some are now working on national newspapers.
The fund was set up by the Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA) in association with other leading publishing companies and so far has awarded bursaries to over 100 aspiring journalists.
Applications are now being accepted for journalism courses starting between September 2012 and August 2013. There will be four rounds of bursary awards this year.