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CIPR Election: Professional and Excellence

I’m standing for President of the CIPR in 2014. I’ve set out ten words and ten pledges that I would focus on during my period in office.

Nominations close on 15 April and the election will take place from 7 to 21 May. You need to be a member of the CIPR to vote. The President for 2014 will be announced on 24 May.

Throughout the election period I’m going to blog about two of my words and pledges each week and answer any questions that have been raised by members.

Last week was community and confidence. This week I’m onto pledges and words three and four: professional and excellence.

Professional

Qualifications and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) are key to shifting the public relations industry from a craft to a profession.

People entering the profession should have, or quickly acquire, a basic level of professional expertise. This is addressed by the CIPR through its foundation, advanced certificate and diploma products and by approved university courses.

CIPR qualifications provide an excellent means of supporting practitioners seeking to develop their expertise in new areas such as internal communications, public affairs and crisis communications.

Practitioners operating in the industry have a clear route via Continuous Professional Development (CPD) through to accreditation and Chartered Practitioner status. We need to set a roadmap for these to become a recognised member benefit.

I can show a direct and ongoing correlation between my skills and my income throughout my career. There is no clearer value in education and training. That’s a story that needs to be told to members and potential members.

We need to communicate the benefit of hiring a member with skills backed up by a code of conduct. No employer would hire a HR director that wasn’t a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD).

The CIPR has an opportunity to take its qualifications and CPD system to a much wider audience. The key to achieving this is ensuring that these schemes continue to resonate with employer and members.

Excellence

As President I would actively promote the Accredited Practitioner and Chartered Practitioner schemes as a benchmark for excellence to all members and with their employers in all sectors, charity, public and private, in-house and consultancy.

I recognise that all professional accreditation and qualification schemes – notably Chartered Practitioner – need to be continually evaluated to ensure that they continue to resonate with employer and member needs.

I achieved Chartered Practitioner status in February. My conclusion, having gone through the process is that it sets a high benchmark and that it would be an error to make it easier but it is critical that it is relevant to professional practice.

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 CPD record.

The CIPR scheme is rigorous and I’m proud of the achievement.

As President I’d work with my fellow Chartered Practitioners to persuade fellow practitioners and employers of the benefit of Chartered status.

Questions and Answers

Rachel Miller has posted a Q&A on internal communication with the candidates for the CIPR Election for 2014 on her blog. This covers the role of internal communications within the CIPR and as part of professional practice.

There’s an interesting debate on the future of the public relations industry and the craft of media versus the role of strategic communication taking place on the CIPR LinkedIn group. Please jump in if you have a question or point of view.

Finally if you have any other questions please get in touch either via the comments below or email.

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Stephen Waddington

Partner and Chief Engagement Officer, Ketchum and Visiting Professor in Practice, Newcastle University.

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