In October last year I set out on the CIPR Chartered Practitioner scheme in a bid to achieve Chartered status. I have been blogging about the process along the way. I’m chuffed to report that I have been awarded Chartered status by the CIPR today.
Statement of experience
The Chartered Practitioner scheme is in three parts: a statement of experience; a written paper; and a formal interview.
The Stage 1 statement of experience is a self-appraisal of your career. It probes examples of leadership, attitudes to learning, areas of professional practice and opinion on the future of the public relations industry.
The paper: Grunig through a digital lens
The Stage 2 paper took more than 70 hours over a two-month period to research and write. It’s a significant piece of work.
I explored the relevance of James Grunig’s Excellence Model and Four Models of Public Relations in an era of networked communication. Grunig stretched me. In hindsight I should have chosen an easier option and explored a topic better aligned to my day job.
Grunig’s models form a cornerstone of communication theory. A critical appraisal of his work is a well-worn tack for public relations undergraduates. However I hope that I have made a useful contribution to the debate by examining whether the models remain relevant at a time when the Internet is destroying and rebuilding the public relations industry.
I’ve never met Grunig but I feel that he’s become an old friend through the numerous books and papers that I’ve read. In time I plan to seek his feedback on my paper and find a suitable outlet for its publication.
I completed the paper over the Christmas break and submitted it to the CIPR at the beginning of January. Positive feedback came back from the chief assessor within a week or so.
In researching and developing the paper I relied heavily on friends and colleagues in the public relations industry to fill in gaps in my knowledge and critique my work. My thanks to the following people for their insight and support: Richard Bailey, Liz Bridgen, Andy Green, Jed Hallam, Laurel Hetheringon, David Phillips, Philip Sheldrake, and Philip Young.
Thanks also to Margaret Clow for her help with proofing and numerous rewrites. She forced greater clarity with each iteration. Every writer needs a Margaret. She’s responsible for the dramatic reduction in typos on my blog in recent months.
I had my Stage 3 interview with two assessors, themselves Chartered Practitioners, last week.
The hour long interview was brutal. No line in my statement was left unquestioned and my knowledge and experience of management and communication practice rigorously tested. The Grunig paper was scrutinised paragraph by paragraph.
Chartered Practitioner evaluated
My motivation for setting out on the journey to Chartered status was rooted in the criticism that the CIPR’s Charter received during the last election. The Charter and Chartered status distinguish the CIPR from other communication and public relations organisations.
In my view Chartered status combined with Continual Professional Development (CPD) is the best opportunity that the public relations industry in the UK has to shift from a craft to a profession.
Achieving Chartered status has been challenging. My conclusion, having gone through the process, is that it sets a high benchmark that it would be an error to make it easier.
Friends in the accounting and marketing industries have shared similar experiences to mine from their own professional accreditation schemes. They have all sacrificed evenings and weekends to pass qualifications and maintain their annual Continuous Professional Development (CPD) record.
The CIPR scheme is rigorous and I’m proud of the achievement. However I think that the CIPR and Chartered Practitioners have a job to do to persuade fellow practitioners and employers of the benefit of Chartered status. I don’t underestimate this task.
On that final note if you believe, as I do, that the public relations industry needs to make the shift from a craft to a profession then you should sign up to CPD via the CIPR and start your own journey to Chartered Practitioner.
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