A JOURNALIST had high praise yesterday for the training scheme which allowed her to go from apprentice to editor in less than five years.

Krystal Starkey became Darlington College’s first ever journalism apprentice back when the initiative started in 2014.

Today she is managing editor of the community magazine Local Link overseeing a revival in print media at a time when the global trend is moving towards purely digital news.

Krystal spent a two year apprenticeship with Local Link crafting her skills on the job in York and Scarborough and spending between one and two days in the classroom at Darlington College.

“I’d always been interested in journalism and as a little girl used to buy piles of second-hand magazines at car boot sales,” she recalled.

“I’d been working in a pub and one day served a director of Local Link who offered me a job in sales. I was terrible but started writing content and then, at an employers’ event, someone mentioned apprenticeships.”

Darlington College teamed up with Local Link and after her apprenticeship was completed she was kept on, reaching the heights of managing editor.

“It was such fun,” she said. “I was studying shorthand then using it at work the same week. You get to apply all your new-found knowledge the moment you learn it, which is invaluable and very effective. Our tutors were from industry and, as they were so passionate about journalism, that inspired me.”

Darlington College journalism lecturer Sue Calvert said: “Krystal is the perfect example of what can be achieved through the apprenticeship scheme with hard work, commitment and a passion for the profession.

“Technology is changing the tools of the trade and we can help students keep pace with that revolution. But at its core journalism is about having the ability to find and tell a good story and the apprenticeship scheme is the ideal way to develop those skills as well.”

For more information on opportunities at Darlington College visit www.darlington.ac.uk.