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February 25, 2014

Alex Salmond backs NUJ journalism apprenticeship scheme

By Darren Boyle

The Scottish government is backing a scheme developed by the National Union of Journalists to employ up to 50 new apprentices in the media industry.

Alex Salmond’s executive is investing £25,000 towards the scheme that will fill between 30 and 50 digital journalism roles across a range of different employers.

Commenting on the initiative First Minister Salmond said: “There couldn't be a more exciting time to be a journalist and there couldn't be a more important time to encourage young people to consider a career in journalism.

"However, we are starting to see a worldwide shift. We must adapt to technological change and find new business models. Schemes such as the NUJ Scotland Digital Journalism project are integral to this. I'm delighted to announce that this project will be supported across the industry so everyone can benefit from highly talented professionals entering journalism."

Paul Holleran, NUJ Scottish organiser, said: "We have been working on this for some time and I am delighted that with Scottish government financial support this exciting project is about to come to fruition. Most employers are on board and the benefits will be seen across the Scottish media industry. It is also a great boost for journalism students across the country."

The apprentices will work in a range of different media groups including Newsquest, Johnston Press, Scottish Provincial Press, BBC, STV and the Romanes Media Group.

Salmond said: “Regardless of technology and platform, the public's need for journalism, for information and analysis, is as great as ever. The constitutional debate is also important for young people. There is a constitutional right for every young person to be offered the opportunity of education, work and training.

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"And this right, in an independent Scotland, could be extended aged up to 24 years old, building on the success of the current Opportunities for All guarantee of employment, apprenticeship or training for all young people age 16 to 19 putting us in line with the rest of Europe. Constitutional debate demonstrates the importance of a strong Scottish press, with high quality journalism.  After independence, the role of the Scottish press in informing debate will be even more important."

The NUJ said it is neutral with regards to the Scottish independence referendum, although the union said the Scottish media needs sufficient journalists to adequately cover the campaign.

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