Archant has appointed its first teenage apprentice journalist as part of a pioneering new training scheme.
Hayley Anderson, 19, will work with the publisher’s East London and Essex titles as well as working on the London 24 website.
As well as receiving on-the-job training, Hayley will attend Lambeth College one day a week where she will study journalism, media law and ethics.
A total of 11 apprentices have started on the two-year NCTJ scheme at Lambeth – with the others working at i, the BBC and Kent Messenger Group.
Malcolm Starbrook, editor-in-chief of Archant East London, said: “The NCTJ is to be congratulated. It has created this scheme which will allow those with the fire in the belly for journalism, the chance to fulfil their dreams without having to go to university first.
“I believe our scheme will provide a fantastic opportunity for an individual to kick-start a career in regional newspapers, but it will also allow editors to recruit local people and ensure they reflect the social and ethnic mix of the communities we serve.”
Hayley said she turned down a chance to go to university when Archant offered her the position.
She said: “I initially applied for this apprenticeship because I always knew that I wanted to be a journalist and this felt like such an amazing opportunity and a real first step into my dream job.
“At the same time I was accepted into university but when I heard that I got offered a place here, there wasn’t really any way that I could turn it down.
"I think that the apprenticeship can offer me more than university, because it lets me learn everything I need to know without all the extra hassle of writing pointless essays and getting myself into loads of debt.
“More than anything, working here is going to give me the necessary experience I need and an NCTJ qualification which I would have had to pay thousands of pounds for if I did decided to go university.
"From this, I hope to achieve a really good understanding of what it is to be a journalist and so far I think that I’m already learning something new everyday.
“These first few weeks have been better than what I actually expected, as I’ve wrote so much more than I thought I would. I think I made the right decision about choosing this over university as it has just confirmed that this is the career that I want.”