Showcases / Do you have what it takes to be a local BBC journalist?

BBC Radio Shetland journalists Daniel Lawson and Daniel Bennett in their studio workplace. Photo: BBC

IF YOU’RE from Shetland or from Orkney or have connections to the Northern Isles this could be your opportunity to get first class training on the BBC Journalism Trainee Scheme (JTS).

The training scheme is for people with good knowledge, understanding and interest in news and current affairs, and this year there are two places available in Scotland, one to work with the local news team in Shetland, and the other in Orkney.

You don’t need qualifications but BBC Scotland expects you to be a creative storyteller who is curious about the world and already demonstrating journalism skills.

The JTS is for people at the very beginning of their career but you should be showing your journalistic potential, for example, by writing articles for a local or student newspaper or website, working at a radio station with news content, blogging or vlogging or creating great social media content.

Two local journalists who have recently gone through the year long-training scheme say they have enormously benefitted from the in-depth training.

Daniel Lawson and Daniel Bennett both work in the BBC Radio Shetland newsroom and are familiar voices on the station’s weekday programmes.

Daniel Bennett ‘It got me out of my comfort zone’.

Twenty-seven year old Daniel Bennett, from Northern Ireland, was the first JTS trainee to be based in Shetland. He describes the chance to work for BBC Shetland was a “golden ticket”.

“The selection process in Glasgow was tough, but it tested your abilities to be a team player, to come up with original ideas, and to defend them,” he continues.

“I got trained by some of the best in the business, and the beauty of working in a smaller team is that you get to use those skills regularly.

“You get better at writing concise, tight copy. You’re always recording and editing, every day. And you have the chance to get on air to really improve your live broadcast skills.

“Shetland is a unique location for the JTS. It got me out of my comfort zone and into daily community reporting.”

Daniel Lawson: ‘perfect combination’.

Originally from Yell, Daniel Lawson joined the station as a Radio Shetland local trainee in 2013. It has been the “perfect combination” for him, he says, as it allows him to be doing the job he always wanted to do while living where he wants to live.

“It’s actually a really busy news patch, and I enjoy working with different folk, issues and topics every day,” he describes the job.

“The broadcasting side of the job can be daunting, but being able to access the training that’s available through the wider BBC is fantastic, and certainly helps you on your way.

Senior producer John Johnston says that the trainee post is open to everyone.

“We want to broaden the range of voices on Radio Shetland, and take on a trainee with lots of fresh ideas and experiences to add to our programmes. Above all, we want someone with a willingness to learn.

“We’ve seen previous trainees like Phil Goodlad and Jonathan Sutherland go on from Shetland to present national news bulletins and sports programmes – and you could follow them!”

There are two ways you can try to secure a place.

Firstly, if you’re interested in working in the Northern Isles, then look out for the advert for these roles, which have just gone live at: https://careershub.bbc.co.uk/members/modules/job/detail.php?record=48452

Secondly, if you’re a final year journalism student from the Northern Isles, studying in Scotland and winning one of four categories at the Scottish Students Journalism Awards scheme, there’s another route.

Any final year student who wins in any of these four categories will go through to the final selection stage of the BBC Journalist Trainee Scheme.

It’s not a guarantee of getting on the scheme, but it will mean you’re only competing against dozens of candidates rather than the thousands who initially apply.