NCTJ Proficiency Certificate in Newspaper Journalism This is the standard qualification awarded by the National Council for the Training of Journalists in the UK. A prerequisite for most reporter jobs in the newspaper industry. Subjects included practical news writing, media law and shorthand. I had a minor claim to fame in being the fastest student in my year at Teeline (shorthand), continuing beyond the compulsory 100wpm to pass the exam at 110wpm. http://www.nctj.com/

NVQ in Periodical Journalism (subbing)This Level 4 National Vocational Qualification assessed skills in editing copy as part of the publication production process. It covered key subbing tasks like writing headlines, standfirsts, captions and other page furniture, and cutting copy to size. http://www.ocr.org.uk/index.html

BAIE Diploma in Industrial Editing A specialist qualification for journalists and PRs working in corporate communications and internal comms functions, awarded by the British Association of Industrial Editors (now called the Institute of Internal Communication). It addressed the particular skill-sets and challenges involved in producing publications for an internal audience. http://www.ioic.org.uk

CAM Certificate in Communication Studies This course, run by the Communications, Advertising and Marketing Education Foundation, covered marketing, PR and advertising at a basic level. I undertook the course as I was working at the time for a big company where it was useful to have a broader perspective of the communications function. http://www.camfoundation.com/

CAM Diploma in Public Relations The higher-level follow-on from the Certificate.  Passing the exam entitled me to membership of the Institute of Public Relations. http://www.camfoundation.com/

BA Hons (Humanities) I studied for six years through the Open University, while working full-time, to gain a 2.1 honours degree with courses in English and History. http://www.open.ac.uk/

Plus: 3 A levels (English, French, History), 8 O levels, Grade 2 piano, Grade 5 oboe, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award bronze and silver, National Navigation Award bronze and silver.