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Empowering disabled individuals with journalism opportunities

by LLB Reporter
31st Aug 23 6:29 am

Grant Logan, the visionary founder of disability social enterprise Ability Today, is paving the way for a ground-breaking opportunity that aims to empower disabled individuals across London.

With an unwavering commitment to inclusivity, Ability Today has partnered with the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) to launch a transformative journalism program, offering disabled people the chance to become professional reporters and storytellers.

The Academy for Disabled Journalists offers the highly sought-after Diploma in Journalism, accredited by NCTJ, as well as the introductory level Certificate in Foundation Journalism. With limited spots available, now is the time for disabled individuals in London and beyond to script their journeys into the captivating realm of media and journalism.

Ability Today are now searching for a new cohort of students to attend this Lottery subsidised programme which lasts 2 years and covers the NCTJ Diploma qualification.

A landmark report published in 2022 detailed representation of disabled people in the U.K. TV industry on and off the screen. The report, from Creative Diversity Network (CDN), shows it will take almost two decades for disabled people to be properly represented in the industry. While 17% of the U.K. workforce is disabled, and 18% of the U.K.’s population, in the TV industry there are only 4.5% of disabled people working behind the camera and 6.8% in front of it. 13,000 additional disabled individuals need to enter the industry in order to reflect the general population.

As the Academy for Disabled Journalists enters its fourth year, Grant Logan reflects on the incredible journey that has already supported more than 80 disabled students to study the NCTJ’s level 3 Certificate in Foundation Journalism qualification and Diploma level.

Academy alumni, Jamie Green, and Emily Davison, have gone on to secure full-time roles in journalism at prominent media outlets such as ITV and Newsquest, underscoring the program’s effectiveness in nurturing talent and opening doors in the competitive field of journalism. 2 students have secured Apprenticeships in Journalism at the BBC, and several are writing freelance for publications such as Metro, Radio Times, Posability and more.

Jamie Green aged 29 from Didcot, Oxfordshire whose journey exemplifies the impact of Ability Today’s support. “I couldn’t have done it without Ability Today,” said Green. Their accessible approach to the NCTJ diploma made my transition into journalism a seamless experience.

Many of the Academy students have gone on to undertake the Diploma Course including James Nelson in Edinburgh, Joanne Halliday from Annan, Dr Julie McElroy from Glasgow, Lisa Kavaney of Norfolk, Victoria Scholes from Sunbury on Thames, Ellie Forrester in Shropshire, Tom Jackson-Wood from Hertfordshire, and Kim To and Georgie Morell, both from London.

Applications are now being welcomed for the next cohort of aspiring disabled journalists. This golden opportunity is open to disabled individuals from all walks of life and backgrounds who are passionate about storytelling and media. The application window will close on Friday, September 15th, allowing ample time for interested candidates to seize this chance to redefine their career path.

Founder Grant Logan’s inspiration for the Academy for Disabled Journalists came from his initial efforts to engage disabled volunteers in reporting. This endeavour evolved into a thriving academy with over 80 students currently enrolled in online courses spanning geographical boundaries from Chobham to Kenya. The academy’s mission is not just about education but also about transforming these students into empowered professionals capable of earning a living through their talents.

Ability Today’s commitment to inclusivity knows no bounds. Their online learning courses, powered by cutting-edge technology, shatter the barriers that have hindered the aspirations of disabled individuals. Grant Logan, himself a survivor of life-changing adversity, founded Ability Today in 2014 to unlock the untapped potential of disabled individuals.

The resounding success stories of past students stand as testament to Ability Today’s mission. Jamie Green, ITV journalist, hails the accessible approach of Ability Today’s programs, making his transition into journalism seamless.

Grant Logan emphasises, “Our mission is to spotlight what people with disabilities can do, rather than what they can’t.” With a focus on accessibility, support, and reasonable adjustments, Ability Today is creating pathways to meaningful careers, bolstering self-belief, confidence, motivation, and integration into the workforce.

Interested applicants are invited to submit a 300-word story via the Ability Today website by September 15. Successful candidates will undergo an induction on September 26, followed by enlightening online lessons every Tuesday from October 3. Essential modules covering journalism, media law, ethics, video journalism, and more await the students, along with the option to explore additional modules in shorthand, practical magazine journalism, and sports journalism.

For those inspired by the stories of former students and eager to learn more about the Academy for Disabled Journalists, visit the Ability Today website. Join this movement and embrace the power of journalism to transform lives and redefine possibilities for disabled individuals. Together, Ability Today and NCTJ are rewriting the narrative of inclusivity and achievement in the field of journalism.

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