"Without Up To Speed I would not have been able to get a job in journalism. The facilities there are first class and it was a great atmosphere to take my first few steps as a journalist."
Ryan Jennings, Reporter, Maldon Standard
"Up to Speed is friendly and supportive, with brilliantly helpful tutors. Up to Speed has definitely prepared me well for my career, and I know my editor thinks so too!"
Helen Tunnicliffe, Senior Reporter, The Chemical Engineer
"I find that I use my knowledge of Public Affairs every day. I often find myself writing political stories."
Daniel Shane, Editor, Network Middle East
"It is fantastic to have got something to do in my chosen field after taking the course at Up To Speed"
Sean Raymond, Sports Content Writer
"I'm pretty sure that my work experience at the Echo was responsible for me getting the job ... and of course obtaining 100wpm shorthand!"
Alana Lewis, News Editor, Llanelli Star
"We are here to give you the skills to succeed. Contact us now to make sure you are Up To Speed."
Tom Hill, Up To Speed's Founder
"I would recommend a course at Up To Speed to anyone seeking a career in journalism. The tuition is first-rate, the facilities are excellent, and the staff are knowledgeable and supportive."
Timothy John, Assistant Editor, Training Journal
"I really enjoyed my time here and I couldn't have asked for better teachers. It's amazing how much I have learned in these last couple of months. Doing this course has opened many doors for me."
Chrissy Symmons, Reporter, Shropshire Star
"The course is housed in a fantastic setup, giving students the facilities and guidance to develop their own style of journalism to a professional standard. I'm not surprised to hear of the success of past students."
Neil Lancefield, Press Association Multi-Media Journalist
"I'm so grateful for the tuition and help I received during my time at Up To Speed and also after the course finished."
Rebecca Greenow, Celebrity Writer, Reveal
"I learned about Twitter and blogging at Up To Speed and that's how I became an online columnist writing about Formula 1. It's so exciting."
Laura Allard, F1 Blogger and Social Media Executive, Cunard
"Tom could not have been more helpful when it came to advice and help with job applications. "
Ruth Norris, Assistant Editor, Cambridge University Press
"I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Up to Speed and it set me up well to begin my first job as a reporter; I use the knowledge I gained on the course on a daily basis. Mastering 100wpm shorthand was the best thing I've ever done."
Hannah White, Senior reporter, Salisbury Journal
"Up To Speed was a real springboard into sports journalism and the skills I learnt on the course have been highly valuable to my work at Sky Sports."
Rachel Griffiths, Football writer, Skysports.com
"If you're considering working in journalism, the NCTJ is the only place to start. I'd have no hesitation in recommending Up To Speed as the place to begin that career."
Rory White, Used Car Writer, What Car?
"I definitely wouldn't have stood a chance of getting my job if I hadn't been on this course, so thanks for everything."
Jack Kitson, Sports content writer
"The course has set me up really well for the job and I am loving it."
James Bass, Freelance editor, ESPN
"I am so pleased to have found a job writing about sport, it's something I have always wanted to do."
Chris Knight, Sports content writer
"Tom does a great job at Up To Speed. I went from knowing very little about journalism to earning some fantastic grades, invaluable contacts and top-end freelance work."
Michael Dias, Founder, Fame Awaits
"My editor on placement just kept saying that it was a brilliant idea to qualify before going to university."
Becca Parlby, Gap Year NCTJ student
"It's always been a dream of mine to work for a magazine, and I couldn't be happier as I am now the editor of a title."
Alice Rook, Editor, Do More Magazine
"I am really pleased that it has all worked out for me and that my decision to do something different, and not just follow all my friends to university, has paid off."
Heather Findlay, Features Writer, That's Life magazine
"It was absolutely excellent as I got the qualifications I needed and my boss was really impressed that I hadn't just followed everyone else and gone to university."
Laura Herbert, Reporter, Reading Post
"I have no hesitation in describing the knowledge, skills and experience both the course and Tom himself has provided me with as invaluable for securing a job in journalism."
Paul Briden, Writer, Know Your Mobile
"Without Tom's journalism school, I would never have landed my first job. Likewise, my every subsequent career success can be directly or indirectly ascribed to the education I received at Up to Speed."
Up To Speed’s Becki Chester has found the perfect way to combine her legal training with her NCTJ qualification – a job working for The Lawyer.
Becki found out she had been offered the job today, just a few weeks after completing the Fast-Track journalism course at Up To Speed.
“I’m so excited, it is just the perfect job for me,” said Becki, who has been appointed as a junior editor.
Her first job in journalism comes a year after Becki left the University of Southampton with a degree in Law. Her interest in reporting had been kindled while working for the university newspaper, Wessex Scene. Becki travelled around South America when she graduated and then joined Up To Speed’s Spring course.
Graduates interested in following in Becki’s footsteps can still apply for the spring 2011 course and opt to specialise in news reporting, magazine journalism, sports reporting or photojournalism.
The courses take place at the Bournemouth Daily Echo’s building in Up To Speed’s own newsroom.
HIGH-ACHIEVERS Alexander Shaw and Laura Herbert are both interested in student debt, but only from an academic perspective.
They met three years ago aged 18 when they had decided to kick university into touch and take a short vocational course instead.
Alexander now works as a parliamentary researcher in the office of Conservative Edward Leigh MP and Laura is a newspaper reporter, who specialises in education.
Their decision to take a professional journalism course lasting five months may have seemed brave or foolhardy to some of their friends back in 2007, but it has certainly paid off.
While the friends from her Reading comprehensive school, were settling in for their second terms at university, Laura had already landed her first job. Her qualifications from the National Council for the Training of Journalists gave Laura that first break.
“It was absolutely excellent as I got the qualifications I needed and my boss was really impressed that I hadn’t just followed everyone else and gone to university,” said Laura, 21.
Laura is now regularly presenting video bulletins from her newsroom.
The NCTJ-accredited course at Up To Speed in Bournemouth included a unit on politics and this caught Alexander’s imagination. He worked in publishing in Vienna for a year and then came his chance to work in politics and he has been, quite literally, “in the thick of it“ ever since.
“I feel really fortunate to be here and it wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t taken the journalism course at Up To Speed,” said Alexander.
“I certainly don’t envy friends from school who have just graduated.”
Three years after Alexander and Laura joined Up To Speed, two high-flying 18 year olds are part of the way through the course.
Antonia Paget has already had a spell of work experience on the Daily Mail and Heather Findlay hopes to work in magazine journalism at the end of the course in February.
In A Class Of Their Own - Teenagers Study Alongside Graduates At Up To Speed
They are studying alongside graduates from universities such as Bristol, Exeter, Leeds, Lancaster, Surrey and Southampton. And they are certainly holding their own.
Antonia, who gained 3As and a B in her A Levels at Bryanston School, is planning to read English at university after the course and will be travelling with friends in South America in the Spring.
Heather(right) got 3 As in her A Levels at Brockenhurst Sixth Form College, but decided that university wasn’t for her.
“I really want to become a journalist, but I don’t want to wait for three years to get started,” said Heather.
The Government estimates that graduates will earn £100,000 a year more on average than those who do not have a degree. However, with fees set to rise, some could start their working lives £36,000 in the red.
For Antonia Paget, 18, an interest in journalism began as an attempt to better her CV in order to gain a place at a prestigious university.
Having just completed her A Levels in Spanish, History, English and Art, Antonia is currently studying for her NCTJ qualification during her gap year before travelling in February.
Whilst at Bryanston School, where she boarded from the age of 13, Antonia became the editor of her school magazine ‘Saga’. She thoroughly enjoyed the role and it was this that began a passion for journalism.
She said: ‘I heard about the NCTJ course in Bournemouth through the careers service and thought, ‘that is what I want to do!’’
With a keen interest in travel writing, Antonia is looking forward to putting her qualification into practice and aims to write as she travels around South America.
‘I feel that if I have my NCTJ qualification, people will take my writing more seriously and so hopefully it could lead to some paid work during my travels. Also I feel that writing as I travel will add an extra perspective to it.’
This interest began following a placement at the Daily Mail where she spent time at the Travel Desk writing articles, fact checking and picture sourcing. Originally it was planned to back up her university application but she found she really enjoyed her time there and even managed to get one of her articles published.
‘My time at the Daily Mail was so much fun, it was really interesting to see how it all works. I was right next to the news section and found it exciting to be in a busy newsroom’.
Antonia found from experiencing journalism that not only did she really enjoy it, she also has a natural talent for it. This could see a change in her original plans to go to university: ‘I am getting a lot from the course so far and I’m not entirely sure what I’ll do next. I think I am going to see where it takes me.’
A drugs bust, a question and answer session with the deputy prime minister and a face-to-face interview with a death-row lawyer.
These are just some of the stories teenaged trainees have covered at Up To Speed this year within a few months of taking their A Levels.
They have all chosen to take a Fast-Track journalism course leading to the coveted Certificate in Journalism from the National Council for the Training of Journalists.
Two of Up To Speed’s students had a little extra pressure this year, because they were following in their mother’s footsteps.
Becca Parlby, 19, spent the first half of her year back-packing around the world and joined the course in February. She’s taking up a place to read Spanish and Italian at the University of Manchester in October.
“My Mum worked as a journalist and she took the same NCTJ exams and so I had quite a bit to live up to,” said Becca, who completed a work placement on her local newspaper in Plymouth as part of the course.
“My editor there just kept saying that it was a brilliant idea to qualify before going to university,” said Becca.
Another daughter of a former national newspaper journalist took after her own back-packing adventures in South-East Asia and South America.
India Fearnley’s Mum Kimm’s first journalism job was at the Daily Echo in Bournemouth where Up To Speed is now based.
“It was quite strange for me coming back to the newspaper where my Mum worked, but I really enjoyed the course and being taught politics by one of Mum’s former colleagues, the Echo’s news editor Andy Martin,” said India.
India has decided against going to university and is planning to use her journalism qualification, and her recently acquired TEFL experience, to travel, write and teach.
For the first time this September, the Fast-Track courses at Up To Speed allow students to specialise in magazine journalism, sports reporting or news. The students will also take core subjects in Public Affairs(politics), Law, Shorthand and Reporting.
The political and legal aspects of the course can turn a Gap Year into a Bridging Year, giving students an excellent grounding in these key disciplines before university.
Abbas Akbar, 19, joined Up To Speed from a sixth form college in Birmingham. He is reading Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Exeter University in October where he hopes to use his qualifications to make an impact on campus journalism. It was Abbas who tracked down the renowned human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith for an interview in West Dorset and who also appeared on the BBC’s Question Time while he was on the course.
Zoe Wareham’s scoop came when her father made a citizen’s arrest of a drugs gang member late one evening, Her story appeared in the Daily Echo the next day. However, her study of Media Law on the course inspired Zoe to take a change of direction. She will now be studying Law at university rather than English with journalism.
Up To Speed’s courses start on September 6th and there are still some spaces available. Call 07590 997063 to find out more.