Hayley Clarke from the BBC tells us how her first year as a Senior Journalist apprentices is going

Hayley Clarke persevered with her goal to get on to the prestigious Senior Journalist apprenticeship with the BBC and she is glad she did!

Hayley started in September and has been telling us why gaining a place on an apprenticeship has been great for her career and confidence.

I decided to do the apprenticeship as I thought it was the perfect way to develop my journalistic skills, whilst being in a paid job. It offers the opportunity to train and work around BBC News, which is a dream come true for me.

Starting the apprenticeship was really reassuring, as I was nervous before it began! It’s been great to make good friends with my like-minded cohort. They are a really impressive bunch and push me to work hard.

The University of Kent’s journalism school is brilliant. It has been great to get so much hands-on experience and support. In just a few months we have had the chance to practise two-ways after a council meeting, go out filming on multiple occasions, and pretend to be presenters on KMTV news.

We have also been on a court visit and learnt a lot for our law module exam. If you are proactive and make the most of your university weeks, you can get a lot out of them.

After starting the apprenticeship, I have been able to work on some BBC News stories I am really proud of, such as a national abortion case story in the High Court, and a story on personal evacuation plans for disabled people, following the Grenfell Inquiry.

I recently did a piece for BBC Kent online with a fellow cohort member, whilst on a university week in Medway. This was a great way to get to know Kent’s patch better, and to practise filming a piece to camera and an interview on film.

I also had the chance to be part of a BBC careers panel, encouraging underrepresented young people to pursue a creative career.

It took me three tries to make it onto the prestigious apprenticeship, but I’m so glad I persevered! I had to dig deep to reapply after making it to the final round last year. When I made it on, it turned out that the BBC team had remembered me and were happy I had reapplied, which was great to hear.

It has ended up working out for the best, as I did some freelancing for BBC News in UGC and Investigations last year. This has put me in good stead as I’ve started my apprenticeship journey.

It can be hard to juggle the demands of my studies and day job. But I have found that chipping away at things a little at a time helps me to stay on top of things and feel less overwhelmed.

Paul Fry, my Apprenticeship Advisor, has been a great person to have supporting me, as well as the wider University of Kent journalism team. Rob is supper helpful and supportive and helps me to feel more confident about my ideas and how to see them through.

Paul helps me to find the paperwork and portfolio elements less daunting. He also encourages me to believe in myself when I am comparing myself to others or feel like I’m not ‘doing enough’ on some occasions. I’m grateful for his cheerful chats and how he helps me overcome self-doubt.

Find out more about our Level 7 Senior Journalist apprenticeship and how you as an employer can use this scheme to upskill new staff or recruit fresh talent into your business.