The Telegraph Editorial Graduate Scheme Programme

Applications have now closed for the 2020 Telegraph Editorial Graduate Programme. We expect applications to re-open again in 2021, and will update this page as soon we have more details.

Yes, you need to get on that applying thing. (Image Credit: CreateHerStock)

So, how do you know we know what we’re talking about? Well, we’ve spoken to the people who’ve applied, interviewed and got the gig at the end of it all to give you the best shot, as well as help to understand what life’s really like in the job. It’s worth adding here that the interviews we’ve conducted are based on the 2019 scheme, and this page will be updated in line with the next scheme as soon as possible.

If you’re on the scheme yourself we’d love to hear from you to help add to this guide. Go on, we might even buy you a gin.

The Scheme 

There’s just one journalism scheme at The Telegraph (you can see details of the now closed 2020 scheme here). It’s a two year scheme where you’ll be given training in everything from news and features to business and sport. It’s also worth adding here that while it’s a graduate scheme, you will be on a permanent contract.

The Telegraph’s main offices are based in Victoria in London, and in their most recent advert the stress that even though “events in 2020 have changed the way we work, rest assured that networking opportunities will continue virtually”.

For the 2020 scheme successful graduates are scheduled to join the newsroom in January 2021. In previous years there has been a September start though, so it’s worth looking up the finer details in the job advert and we’ll update this page once we’ve got more information on exactly when things will kick off.

It’s a standard contract with the newspaper, so you’ll be expected to work an eight hour day, but as with any journalism job you’ll need to be flexible when news happens. The Telegraph don’t usually disclose salaries on job adverts, but the 2019 scheme is listed as above London Living Wage, as you’d expect.

The Application Process

It’s a fairly extensive application; the classic CV/cover letter combo, followed by a few specific questions.

Need a bit of inspiration? We got someone who’s hired in national newsrooms before to tell us everything he’s looking out for on your CV and cover letter.

A relevant undergraduate or postgraduate qualification is essential, but it doesn’t have to be in journalism. Experience in local or student journalism is preferable. They’re also keen to find out how extensive your shorthand capability is, but don’t worry, this informs training – not your application.

What Are They Looking For?

So, here’s what they’re looking for. They want someone who loves writing and investigating. You need to be eager to engage with people from all walks of life, and ready to tell their stories.

You also need to enjoy working to a deadline (knew those university all-nighters would come in useful, eh?), writing under pressure, and have good time-management skills.

“Do not underestimate the extent to which you will be required an expected to have a basic level of journalistic competence… You will need to be able to demonstrate core skills and your interest in journalism, but at the same time there’s no need to sand yourself down, if you have a particular individual strength (knowledge/character) you need to big those up!”
Laurence Dodds

You’ll move across desks, as well as the country, so you need to be prepared to be flexible – and you’ll need to be the kind of person who can quickly slot into new teams.

Confidence is also essential, particularly whilst you’re doing your regional placement. You’ll be given a lot of responsibility early on – expect plenty of door knocking, live reporting, and being thrown in at the deep end.

It goes without saying that it’ll be a great experience, but you’ll need to be versatile and ready to accept and engage with lots of different challenges.  

Cristina Criddle, a journalist with BBC Radio 4 Today programme who was previously on the scheme told Journo Resources that originality was the key component when applying for this particular scheme.

Don’t say what you think they might want to hear, show as much personality and experience as possible: “don’t be grey and boring!”

Reviews From People That Did It

Obviously, that all sounds great. But what do those think you’ve been through the scheme? Luckily for you, we decided to ask three of them:

Cristina Criddle, former trainee, now journalist at The Today Programme: “The experience and training was amazing, they invest a lot of time in you and you get the opportunity to work across the paper, meet (and learn from) all of the talented journalists and editors, as well as the experience of working on different sections. Ultimately this helped me to decide the direction of my career.”

Laurence Dodds, former trainee, now US Tesch reporter for The Telegraph: “I learnt a lot, and gained a lot of invaluable experience. The PA training course was magnificent, it taught me a lot of skills that I still remember and use, and forms the basis of a lot of my work today.”

Tom Ough, former trainee, now a writer and commissioning editor for The Telegraph: “A lot of trust is put in grads, which is mostly cool. Writing about business was difficult for me, an ignoramus, but being on the sports desk allowed me to go to Wimbledon and liveblog Euro 2016.”

You can also hear more from Tom when he spoke about his experiences on a panel for Journo Resources in 2018.

After The Programme Ends

After the formal 2 year programme comes to an end, you’ll be a permanent part of the newsroom in a role which best fits your aspirations and skillset. The majority of those we spoke to continued their careers with the Telegraph following the graduate scheme.

Article compiled and written by Jessica Lord. You can find her on Twitter here.