Journalism – final year students gain a mentor
Students on journalism courses at the University of Gloucestershire have been guaranteed an industry mentor for the whole of their final year. The scheme − which makes use of the University’s graduates − has been launched at a time when the impact of COVID-19 has made the media jobs market more competitive than ever.
Nearly 60 third-year students on the BA Journalism, BA Sports Journalism, and BA Magazine Journalism & Production courses have been offered the help of a professional, working in a field of the industry that interests the student. The mentors include journalists working for national news titles (such as MailOnline), for major broadcasters (such as the BBC), and in media communications roles. The mentors will act as sounding boards and advisers throughout the students’ crucial last year of higher education.
Journalism student Meg Price has been teamed up with Steve Turner, who graduated in 2013 and is now a project manager with scientific publisher Elsevier.
“Speaking with my mentor Steve has allowed me to talk through some of my worries about getting writing experience and dealing with job rejections. Being able to get tips from someone who has already experienced it, has put my mind at ease about graduating and deciding on a career path.”
When Steve was contacted by senior journalism lecturer Erika Barnes, who has organised the mentoring scheme, he immediately wanted to help.
Steve managed to get his first job a few months after graduating, but said:“Knowing how hard it was, and the sheer number of applications I sent for jobs, I wanted to help future students and provide them with any support they needed, whether that be job prep, experience prep or even advice on where to take their career. I took the communications and marketing route but have applied a lot of transferable skills from my degree in journalism. It’s an excellent initiative from the University of Gloucestershire, so you feel more at one with a working professional and gain valuable insights into what life is really like in the world of media and journalism.”
The University offers three undergraduate degree courses in journalism.
The Journalism course students learn about podcasts, campaigns and investigations, media relations and PR, celebrity and fashion journalism, and TV and radio presenting. The course is accredited by both NCTJ (National Council for the Training of Journalists) and BJTC (Broadcast Journalism Training Council), giving University of Gloucestershire graduates a competitive edge when entering into a journalism career.
The Magazine Journalism and Production course is taught by practicing magazine and media professionals linked to high-profile business partners. From lifestyle, fashion, music and sports magazines to newspaper supplements, the students develop key magazine production skills, including design, marketing, and business strategy.
The Sports Journalism course was developed by award-winning sports journalists with input from industry experts, and has a brilliant track record of getting graduates into work.
BA Journalism course leader Paul Wiltshire said: “We’re determined to move mountains to ensure our graduates are at the front of the queue when jobs and freelance opportunities are up for grabs – and the new mentoring scheme is a big part of that. It’s a real privilege to help create the journalists of the future. And it’s also a joy to be able to say to students coming onto our course that they will never be just a number with us. We will know them and care about them.”