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Paul McClean Graduate Trainee Programme

Posted: 16 Dec 2020 Closes: 14 Feb 2021
London (Editorial Journalism) Competitive
Permanent & Full-time JR005913

The 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 individuals 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 35th 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.  We are looking for self-starters who are committed to unstintingly high standards, have a keen interest in business and global affairs, and an international mindset. Strong writing ability is vital. They should be excited about getting scoops and telling stories across all formats. 

Language skills, in addition to fluent spoken and written English, are an advantage, as are data journalism skills and 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 will join us in September 2021, spend six weeks training, then take on two years of six-month assignments. These could include an overseas posting and possibly  at a regional news organisation. Mentoring, feedback and further training are provided throughout.

How to apply

All applicants must have the right to work in the United Kingdom.

This scheme is not for professional journalists or anyone who has started training courses with other media organisations.

Please upload three documents. You may need first to complete your details before being able to upload your second and third attachment.


1.) Cover Letter:  tell us about yourself and answer the following question (600 words):

Why do you want to be a journalist at the FT and why should we choose you?

2.) An original piece of journalism with an emphasis on original reporting, on a topic of interest to FT readers. (500 words)


3.) CV: to include secondary/FE education; university and subject details; post-Grad education (if any); other qualifications including data journalism/analytical skills; languages including competency level; leisure interests (one-page)


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


The deadline for applications is 17 January 2021.

Financial Times

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