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By Disabled People for Disabled People

Certificate in Foundation Journalism

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Ability Today has given me the most amazing opportunity. When I applied to study for a certificate in foundation journalism, I never imagined that a year later I would be starting my new job as a trainee journalist with Newsquest.”  – Emily Davison, CFJ Alumni & Newsquest Journalist 



Ability Today is running its fifth year of our Academy for Disabled Journalists (ADJ) in partnership with the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ), all delivered in a fully inclusive and accessible online environment.

This is an innovative partnership with the NCTJ to provide tailored access to their Certificate in Foundation Journalism (CFJ) subsidised by the National Lottery.

If you have a disability and are in receipt of DLA or PIP you will be eligible to apply for the course. If you are not in receipt of DLA or PIP, a Doctor/Consultant letter confirming your medical condition will suffice. Please get in touch if you have further questions.

All applications must be submitted by 21st May.

We aim to notify all successful & unsuccessful applicants by 27th May 2024.

The weekly 1.5 hour lessons will commence at 11am on 30th May 2024 and the course will run for 9 months. All sessions are recorded for reference and revision. Students will be required to attend the classes online via Zoom. We are only looking for students that can commit to attend the classes on a weekly basis. We do understand that due to illness / doctors appointments / long term health conditions that occasionally classes may be missed.

We are here to support you on your journey.

The Academy for Disabled Journalists run both CFJ & Diploma courses.

Applications for the next NCTJ Diploma course will open Autumn 2024 to start October 2024.

Any questions please contact us at info@abilitytoday.com

If you are interested in journalism and have a disability, contact Ability Today, they will give you the tools and support to achieve your goals.” – Victoria Scholes, ADJ student

Course Information

This course is an A-level equivalent qualification providing an introduction to journalism. It may be used as a first step for candidates considering a career in journalism or by those wishing to develop their journalistic skills for a specific purpose.

The course will be delivered by NCTJ-accredited teaching staff and will be a mix of webinar-based tutorials and coursework.

The current course of 28 weekly 1.5 hour sessions will run over a 9 month period starting 30th May 2024. However, we will be able to extend the course if required up to 2 years to accommodate individual requirements. We have worked closely with the NCTJ to devise a course which will enable students with a wide range of abilities to participate and gain a valuable qualification.

The structure of the online and webinar-based course includes 150 guided learning hours (which includes 40 hours of weekly webinars) and 100 hours of self-study (includes revision/assessments). All online sessions have a live stenographer providing Streamtext and a transcript will be available post session. We are aware that some students have a preference for BSL and we are currently seeking funding to provide this in the future. The sessions are also recorded for later revision and reference. You will be required to complete assignments throughout the course, that will be externally assessed at a pace dictated by each individual. In addition to the weekly lessons and webinars there will be one-to-one tutorials at the end of each module. All webinars will be filmed and made available to students online for the duration off the course.

The ADJ is absolutely groundbreaking for disabled people who want to become journalists, there is no other training out there remotely close in terms of quality of support and accessibility.” – Lisa Kavaney, ADJ student

Application Form

Partnering with the NCTJ has given the ADJ the ability to provide direct mentoring and teaching support and to tailor the course for the needs of learners with a range of disabilities. These additional resources are not normally available through the NCTJ’s distance learning courses.

Ability Today’s Online News Platform is the perfect place for our student’s brand new content to be created and published. 

Our Academy will provide students with the unique ability to develop and hone their journalistic skills and deliver their content directly to our targeted audience.

We will be providing our students with the qualification and tools to report on the world around them and create pathways to employment.

Membership to our Academy will include the following benefits:

  • Unique Access to The NCTJ Level 3 Certificate in Foundation Journalism
  • Exclusive Webinar based tutorial content (40 + hours)
  • Access to Masterclasses past and present delivered by prominent industry leaders
  • Access to NCTJ’s CFJ Resource Portal
  • End of Module 30 minute 1 to 1 Tutorial
  • Ability Today Student NUJ Press Pass
  • Some financial support will be available to cover attending events.

Course requirements

  • Laptop / Computer
  • Internet connection
  • Smartphone for audio recording and filming
  • Zoom application for tutorials
  • Word Processing software (MS Word / Google Docs)
  • The Academy’s NCTJ Level 3 Certificate in Foundation Journalism is suitable for those aged 18+ and educated to GCSE level

To sign up to become a member of the Academy (ADJ) and enroll in the CFJ course please fill out the form above.

Click here for the NCTJ-website link on Qualification details for CFJ Course

The qualification is designed to give a wide variety of uses within the community; whether as a community reporter or contributor, blogger or those wishing to use journalism as a way to draw attention to specific community issues.
It can be offered through a range of providers: schools and colleges; evening classes and short courses. Achievement of the qualification attracts a UCAS tariff of 16 points which may be used towards accessing higher education degree courses.
To gain the Level 3 Certificate in Foundation Journalism, students must complete five mandatory units and 6 additional units. The following options have been chosen by Ability Today in conjunction with the NCTJ as being the most appropriate for this unique course:


  • Gathering information
  • How to tell a news story
  • Recording information
  • Legal and ethical considerations for journalists
  • Writing for digital media

ADDITIONAL UNITS: - subject to change

  • Using Video to tell a Story
  • Using Audio to tell a Story
  • Taking Photographs Suitable for Publication
  • Feature Writing for a specific purpose
  • Community Radio News gathering
  • How Society Works
  • Finding Using Data
  • History of News
  • Writing review comment articles

Successful study at foundation level is likely to give candidates a “head start” when it comes to studying for an apprenticeship and/or the Diploma in Journalism.

With the support of the National Lottery we are able to reduce this cost to £199 inc VAT per student. (The true cost of this exclusive course is over £2000 per student.)

For more information on NCTJ Certificate in Foundation Journalism Qualification

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For more information about the Academy for Disabled Journalists or Ability Today please email info@abilitytoday.com with your details.