Paul McClean
Paul McClean, right, shooting a video in London in 2015 © Courtesy of Lisa Essex

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 a Financial Times trainee. Sadly, Paul passed away in September 2017.

We are looking for talented, driven reporters 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 37th 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. You should be a self-starter committed to unstintingly high standards, have a keen interest in business and global affairs, an international mindset and sharp reporting instincts. Strong writing ability is vital. You 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 FT journalist.

Successful applicants will join us in September 2023, spend seven weeks training, then take on two years of six-month assignments. These include one overseas posting. For their third year, the trainee will undertake their first dedicated job. Mentoring, feedback and further training are provided throughout.

How to apply

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

Please upload three documents.

1) CV: include the name and city of your secondary school; university and subject details; post-grad education (if any); other qualifications including data journalism/analytical skills; languages including competency level; leisure interests

2) Cover Letter: tell us about yourself, including why you want to be a journalist at the FT and why we should choose you. Also, in no more than 60 words, tell us which business figure you would like to interview and why?

3) An unpublished news story with an emphasis on original reporting, on a topic of interest to FT readers. We are looking for a story that you have researched and written yourself with the FT in mind. It should be a news story — not an opinion piece. Submissions that have been published will be rejected. (500 words max)

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

The deadline for applications is January 15 2023. Successful applicants will start on September 11 2023 (TBC).



Graduate trainees join the FT on a one-year contract, extended for up to a further year at the discretion of the company. Successful trainees are encouraged to apply for staff positions that become available towards the end of their second year of the three-year scheme.

The salary is £30,000, in the first year, rising to £34,000 in the second year and £38,000 in the third year on appointment to the first job in a competitive application process (subject to satisfactory performance throughout). In addition, the trainee will receive a one-off £750 welcome payment on joining.


Applicants in their final year of studies, recent graduates or postgraduates in any discipline may apply. This scheme is not for professional journalists or anyone who has started training courses with other media organisations.

All applicants must have the right to work in the UK.

If you are in any doubt about your eligibility, or have any other questions, please contact

Our commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace

At the FT, we aim for employees across all regions to have a voice so that diverse perspectives are heard and valued. We believe that a supportive workplace is one where employees feel they can be themselves at work and have the flexibility they need to meet their personal needs. We’ll continue to remove barriers for all, and in particular barriers facing employees from under-represented groups.

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