Paul McClean Graduate Trainee Programme, Financial Times

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Location: UK wide
Salary details: £30,000-38,000pa
  • Full-Time

The FT’s Paul McClean graduate trainee programme, now open for applications, recruits and trains entry-level journalists from all walks of life for a long-term career at one of the world’s leading, and most respected, news organisations.

The scheme is named after Paul McClean, a gifted journalist who produced groundbreaking work during his two years as an FT trainee. Sadly, Paul passed away in September 2017.

We are looking for talented, driven reporters like Paul who want to develop an FT career in financial journalism and global affairs; people who are curious about the world, strongly committed to serious journalism and who enjoy the thrill of nailing a good story.

Alumni of this highly-competitive scheme – now in its 38th year – are well represented in senior staff of the FT and other news organisations around the world.

All applicants must demonstrate they can cope with the pressure of working in a fast-paced news organisation with assignments abroad. You should be a self-starter committed to unstintingly high standards, have a keen interest in business and global affairs, an international mindset and sharp reporting instincts. Strong writing ability is vital. You should be excited about getting scoops and telling stories across all formats.

Data journalism skills and languages, in addition to fluent spoken and written English, are an advantage, as is the ability to understand different cultures.

The Paul McClean graduate trainee programme is not an internship or fellowship: it is a full-time contract as a trainee Financial Times journalist.

Successful applicants to the three-year programme will join us in September 2024. They will first receive seven weeks of in-house training, then have four six-month stints on different news desks, including one overseas posting. For the third year, the trainee will undertake their first dedicated job, assuming good performance. Mentoring, feedback and further training are provided throughout.

To Apply

Click the button to apply via the link below – details to apply as follows:

All candidates must already have the right to work in the United Kingdom for a minimum of three years, at the point of application.

Please upload three documents.

1.) CV: include the name and city of your secondary school; university and subject details; post-grad education (if any); other qualifications including data journalism skills; languages (include competency level, ideally on the CEFR scale); leisure interests.

2.) Cover Letter: tell us about yourself, including why you want to be a journalist at the FT and why we should choose you.

3.) An unpublished news story with the emphasis on original reporting, on a topic of interest to FT readers.  We are looking for a story that you have researched and written yourself with the FT in mind. It should be a news story – not an opinion piece. Submissions that have been published will be rejected. (500 words max).

No artificial intelligence tools are allowed. The story will be run through AI and plagiarism detection tools. Use footnotes to cite your sources. In no more than 250 words, tell us at the bottom of the story why you chose this subject, who you interviewed and why. 

Please record any interviews and keep them, as well as email/WhatsApp/Signal etc exchanges from which you draw quotes and material. We will ask for them if you make it through to the next round. Tell your interviewees we may contact them.  

Applications submitted without all three requirements, will not be assessed.

The deadline for applications is 13 January 2024. Successful applicants will start on 9 September 2024.


Graduate trainees join the FT on a one-year contract, extended for up to a further year at the discretion of the company. Successful trainees are encouraged to apply for staff positions that become available towards the end of their second year of the three-year scheme.

The salary is £30,000, in the first-year, rising to £34,000 in the second year and £38,000 in the final, third year on appointment to the first job in a competitive application process . In addition, the trainee will receive a one-off £750 welcome payment on joining. These terms are subject to good performance throughout.


Applicants in their final year of studies, recent graduates or post-graduates in any discipline may apply. This scheme is not for professional journalists or anyone who has started training courses with other media organisations.

All candidates must already have the right to work in the United Kingdom for a minimum of three years, at the point of application. If you are in any doubt about your eligibility, or have any other questions, please contact


Our benefits vary depending on location, but we are committed to providing best in class perks across all our offices as well as an inclusive environment to develop your career. Examples of our benefits include; generous annual leave allowances, flexible working (including working from home), medical cover, enhanced maternity & paternity packages, subsidised gym memberships and Giving Back opportunities. Full details of our benefits can be found here.

Our commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace

The FT is committed to providing an inclusive working environment for all. We are an equal opportunities employer seeking to recruit and appoint the best talent regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, socio-economic background, religion and/or belief. We believe that a supportive workplace is one where employees feel they can be themselves at work and have the flexibility they need to meet their personal needs.

Please let us know if you require any adjustments as part of the application process or to enable you to attend an interview. If you would like to discuss your requirements, or have any questions, please contact a member of our HR team who will be happy to help.

About the Financial Times

Across the FT Group, our people are united by a mission to deliver world-class information, news and services to our global audiences. Our global, award-winning editorial team represents the gold standard in journalism, seeking depth, originality and balance that differentiates us from the pack and engages our subscribers.

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