The National Council for the Training of Journalists has launched an introductory course for aspiring journalists with disabilities.
Thirteen students with varying disabilities have so far enrolled on the course, which will deliver the NCTJ’s level 3 Certificate in Foundation Journalism (CFJ) qualification.
The course is run in partnership with Ability Today, a social enterprise and online platform which provides news and resources to help support people with disabilities.
It will be delivered over a period of six to twenty-four months, depending on the individual requirements of students.
Students across the UK can participate as the course will now take place remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The course will offer direct mentoring and teaching support and students will also have the opportunity for their work to be published on Ability Today’s online news platform.
Will Gore, head of partnerships and projects at the NCTJ, said: “It is fantastic to see our partnership with Ability Today off to such a strong start. I’m looking forward to seeing prospective journalists learn and hone new skills as the course progresses.
“Last year we worked with Nike and PA Training to build a CFJ course focussed on women’s sports journalism. That demonstrated to us the potential of this particular qualification to be tailored to specific subject areas or for cohorts with particular interests or needs.
“We’re convinced our work with Ability Today on another new CFJ pathway will be equally successful. What’s more, given the NCTJ’s track record on promoting diversity in journalism, this project is a welcome addition to our efforts at making journalism as accessible as possible.”
Khaleel Chima, who works for Ability Today as a roving reporter and has enrolled on the course, said: “I started out as a volunteer, and over time I became part of a dynamic, friendly team who all strive to make society a better and fairer place for us, the community.
“I am now getting out and about thanks to this inspirational social enterprise. Ability Today has boosted my confidence in the outside world. Thanks to them I feel that I am making progress with my life and helping the new generation with their future.”
Grant Logan (left) and Khaleel Chima (right)
Grant Logan, founder of Ability Today, said: “In 2019 we changed our name from Disability Today as we felt it was time to shout about what we can do, not what we can’t.
“We have been developing our roving reporter program now for a couple of years, sending our teams out to cover events and create their own stories, and at the beginning of 2020 it felt right to launch our academy for disabled journalists.
“Giving our students the skills and ability to go out and work in the mainstream media. Hopefully creating positive role models and pathways to employment.”