This year’s Breaking Into News competition has been launched to find the next generation of UTV broadcast journalist.

Now in its seventh year, the unique initiative is delivered by ITV News and Media Trust.

Fronted by ITV’s award-winning news broadcaster Charlene White, and Nicola Alexander for UTV, it aims to unearth diverse broadcasting talent from across the UK.

Breaking Into News has consistently attracted some of the brightest and most promising new journalistic talent from across the country, especially amongst the harder to reach pool of diverse and underprivileged talent.

Charlene White, ITV

Ten applicants will be shortlisted – one for each of the ITV regions across Northern Ireland, England and Wales.

The successful candidates will be paired with an ITV journalist based in their region and, over the course of six weeks, will be mentored on all aspects of broadcast journalism.

They will develop skills in writing, reporting and production, and gain an understanding of how a busy newsroom actually works.

Programmes such as Breaking into News are a vital way of bridging the gap between the media industry and underrepresented communities, and provide talented individuals with a unique chance to break into the media sector and have a say on the issues that matter to them.

Mairi Ankers, Media Trust

UTV is encouraging applications from local budding broadcast journalists, who may have little to no relevant experience.

It is an opportunity for those who have recently finished their education and have limited media experience to be mentored by leading news broadcasters, learn how to write and produce news reports on subjects that matter to them, and get the ultimate chance to break into news.

UTV’s Nicola Alexander said work experience had been a key element in helping to forge her own career in television, and could provide a prime opportunity for the next generation.

From a very young age, I knew I wanted to be a journalist … Fourteen years on, I still love working in television.

Nicola Alexander, UTV

“I also took advantage of any free television seminars and courses I could get on to, which helped me make contacts in the industry,” Nicola said.

“My big break came when I was awarded a paid six-month placement in STV, through the Media Guardian trainee scheme.

“I worked hard to make sure after six months were up, I was still part of the team.”

Breaking Into News has already seen many talented individuals progress into careers in news journalism and media.

Last year's overall winner, UTV candidate Josh Farrell, with ITV News anchor Charlene White

Last year, UTV candidate Josh Farrell, from Dungannon in Co Tyrone, was named the overall winner.

“Without Breaking Into News, I definitely would not be going to university. That’s something I never really thought would happen for me,” he said.

“It’s given me an actual idea of what I want to do with my life, so I really owe a lot to the competition. I can’t recommend it enough.”

Even if you have no experience and feel like you have nothing to offer, just try. Because you never know what might happen.

Josh Farrell, 2017 winner