Clerkenwell-based noSWeat journalism centre slammed by students

Students have criticised a journalism training centre which has been stripped of its accreditation.

The National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) announced in August that it will no longer accredit a full and part-time course at noSWeat in Clerkenwell Close, Clerkenwell.

The NCTJ, which has accredited noSWeat since 2001, stated the courses did not “fully meet the NCTJ standard, aims and performance indicators”.

Students on the part-time course between September and March have spoken about their experiences.

One of them, Gavin Davis, 25, said: “Initially, even mild complaints or requests for simple information such as the course syllabus or learning objectives were dismissed out of hand.

‘Given up’

“Our complaints weren’t taken seriously until the NCTJ got involved. It is really quite a sad story. So many people I know saved up or borrowed thousands of pounds to study there only to have their dreams and hard work come to nothing.

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“Many who dropped out told me they have given up wanting to be a journalist because of their experience.”

Another student on the course Laura Lidell, 23, said: “Because of the poor technology and lack of structure and organisation we were unable to learn what was required for the exams. It was a very stressful period.”

NoSWeat, a registered charity which has trained reporters since 1999, will continue to run courses and enter pupils for the NCTJ exams.

Steve Ward, noSWeat course director, said: “Our drop out rate is in the region of five per cent on average. We take all complaints very seriously and have a rigorous set of procedures to deal with any which may arise.

“We have also appointed an un-paid, independent Ombudsman, who can be contacted by trainees who feel their concerns have not been adequately dealt with.

“We have trained hundreds of journalists over the last 12 years, the majority of whom are making good use of their training and working as reporters and sub-editors.”