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GCSE or A-level results not what you were looking for? Don’t despair, says Arsenal reporter Layth Yousif – just look at the example of my intern Toby Miles

PUBLISHED: 12:15 23 August 2018 | UPDATED: 12:35 23 August 2018

Don't despair if you didn't get the exam results you wanted this summer. Picture: Ben Birchall/PA

Don't despair if you didn't get the exam results you wanted this summer. Picture: Ben Birchall/PA

Press Association Images

Didn’t get the exam results you were lookinng in your GCSE results today, or A-levels last week, but want to be a sports journalist? Then don’t despair, Arsenal reporter Layth Yousif says it’s not the end of the world, just look at the example of his intern Toby Miles.

Layth Yousif's sports journalist intern Toby Miles in competitive action on the continentLayth Yousif's sports journalist intern Toby Miles in competitive action on the continent

Who recalls the sheer terror of waiting for exams results?

I do, and it was horrible.

So a big well done to everyone who did well in their GCSEs and A-levels this month.

But if you didn’t get what you wanted then don’t despair.

Yes, of course qualifications are important, and in a different life in Investment Banking before I became a journalist I managed to pass an MBA with merit. Something which I’m still extremely proud of because it was bl**dy hard work!

But if you’ve done your best and simply didn’t get the grades required it’s not the end of the world.

I get an awful lot of students asking for work experience. What I always look for is passion, enthusiasm, an appetite for hard work, as well as proof of experience, before I look at exam results, that’s if I bother to look at all.

If you’re interested in becoming a journalist all you need is an accredited NCTJ qualification.

When aspiring journos ask me for careers advice I always say take a university course that you’ll enjoy for three years, not journalism, or media studies or whatever it is they call it these days.

The number of teenagers and people in their early 20s I’ve seen who’ve come out of higher education without the necessary tools required to attempt to become a journalist always astounds me.

Which is why I want to pay tribute to an intern of mine, Toby Miles.

Eighteen-year-old Toby – who is also an aspiring professional cyclist – was in a serious collision with a car earlier this summer which involved a spell in Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

To cut a long story short, Toby suffered a broken pelvis and other issues and is still on crutches now.

But his sheer desire to, quite literally, get back on the bike has been utterly inspiring.

His courage and bravery have astounded me. As well as his appetite to return to writing.

He popped into my office on deadline day this week.

Not just to say hello, but to force me to give some of his journalism the once-over.

Toby, I salute you. Even as a hard-bitten journo you have my complete and utter respect.

You also have a bright future in the trade. And hopefully still in cycling too.

That’s why qualifications don’t matter that much – a hunger to improve and a Stakhanovite work ethic mean far more.

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