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The Sheffield College

Journalism Course Kickstarts Student’s New Career

Updated: 20/07/2016

Former bank worker Keith Spooner has shown that it is never too late to fulfil your career ambitions.

Journalism Course Kickstarts Student’s New Career

Pictured: The £8.8 million creative industries facilities at Hillsborough campus include a new television studio.

Keith, aged 60, enrolled on the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) Diploma in Journalism at The Sheffield College after taking early retirement from HSBC.

He worked for the bank for 40 years from leaving school, but had a long-held ambition of becoming a journalist. After completing his course this year he immediately gained regular freelance work as a reporter at the Derbyshire Times in Chesterfield.

Keith studied reporting, media law, public affairs, court reporting, video journalism and shorthand in the new £8.8 million Centre for Creative Industries at The Sheffield College’s Hillsborough campus on Livesey Street. He also chose to take the optional module of photojournalism.

He said: “I have always wanted to be a reporter and I thought it would make a great second career after leaving the bank. The college course was ideal for me in that it didn't take years to get my qualifications, just six months. It gave me a great grounding in journalism, from law to reporting, and the tutors were brilliant.”

“I have learnt so much at the Derbyshire Times. The staff have been incredibly helpful and I love going in each day in anticipation of what I shall be reporting. I now have enough confidence to start putting forward stories to the editor,” added Keith, from Bradway.

The NCTJ Diploma in Journalism fast track course, from September 2016 to March 2017, prepares students for direct employment in the media industry. Places are still available. Click here for more information and to apply or call 0114 2602600.

The course is accredited by the NCTJ - the industry’s leading training body - and covers news writing, law, public affairs, shorthand and includes a broadcast option covering television and radio skills as well as a photography option.

Helen Johnston, Journalism Lecturer, The Sheffield College, said: “Keith was a great student and fitted in very well with the rest of the group, whose ages ranged from 18 upwards. We’re very pleased that he’s had success in finding regular employment as a reporter and wish him well in his future career.”

Heather Smith, Principal, The Sheffield College, added: “We equip our students with the skills that employers need. It’s great that Keith has developed new skills with us to support a complete career change.”

Creative industries specialisms offered at The Sheffield College’s Hillsborough campus include art and design, graphic design, games development, media, music, journalism, dance and drama, and photography. New facilities include a performing arts theatre, as well as dance, drama, television, photography, music and radio studios, and £450,000 of new equipment.