Victoria lands dream job on last day of course

Recent NWRC Journalism Graduate Victoria Leonard who started work the day after her final exams at College.
Recent NWRC Journalism Graduate Victoria Leonard who started work the day after her final exams at College.

There are few graduates who can say they started their dream job just one day after their final exam at College, but that’s exactly the experience of Victoria Leonard, who began her new job as a journalist with the Coleraine Chronicle, within 24 hours of completing the NCTJ (National Council for Training of Journalists) exams at North West Regional College.

Victoria is also not alone in gaining employment so quickly, as three of her fellow graduates were also appointed to professional journalism roles when the course finished in summer 2013.

“I worked in marketing and then completed a Master’s degree, but I realised I really wanted to be a journalist” said Victoria.

“You need the NCTJ qualification now, so I enrolled on the one year course, and having completed work placements at both the Belfast Telegraph and the Alpha Newspaper group during the year, I got the job in Chronicle, starting just a day after my last exam.”

For fellow graduate Aine O’Doherty, the hands-on approach to the course was refreshing, after gaining a degree in politics. “I found the College very welcoming and a different approach to the studies I’d completed before – it was definitely a better way of learning.” Aine discovered that she had been called for interview at the Tyrone Constitution on her last day in College.

NWRC Journalism graduates were also offered posts at local media organisations in the past three months. A number of others are working freelance and submitting work to online publications.

The course is accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists, the professional body which oversees journalism training in the UK and is responsible for upholding quality and standards.

Last year students spent two days at RTE in Dublin with broadcasters including Pat Kenny and Miriam O’Callaghan, and attended a number of Student Journalism Conferences.

The students wrote for the College weekly newspaper iNews, as well as their weekly work placement in industry.

Term may have just commenced but the opportunities for industry engagement have already started for this year’s cohort.

Media and Journalism students participated in the Belfast Media Festival, as it relocated to Derry~Londonderry for CultureTECH.

The College hosted 3 events for young people; a Camera Workshop in the College’s state of the art HD TV Studios run in association with the BBC Academy; A Music for Moving Image session in NWRC’s modern audio recording studios with UK and Ireland Royalty Collection Societies PRS and IMRO; and Documenting the Cut, a 2 day masterclass with international documentary film editor Daithi Connaughton on online and offline editing.

Suzanne Rodgers Curriculum Manager for Media and Journalism said: “We are delighted that a quarter of the Class of 2013 are already in employment within weeks of completing this course. We have excellent contacts with the local press, many of whom are also former students, as well as across the UK and Ireland and believe that the additional experience we offer our students sets them apart when seeking employment.”

The College has limited places left on its range of full and part-time programmes this year – for further information visit