In a couple of months time I will be celebrating the sixth anniversary of one of the proudest days in my life – the day I achieved Chartered status. At the time I was working within the police and no-one really understood what it was or recognised that it was a professional qualification. I had expected that and it wasn’t the reason I had pursued it. I wanted to test myself, to see whether I had the right level of knowledge and experience. After many years in policing it was also a qualification that meant something to people outside of law enforcement.
The Value of Chartership report from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) and the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) is not surprising. Seventy-two per cent of people involved in the research felt the respect for chartered status was low. A lot more needs to be done to promote standards across the PR and communication industry. But that brings with it additional dilemmas.
At the moment PR is one industry that has no obvious bars to people joining. There is no need to have a University degree or to have achieved a certain qualification. This on paper makes it open to all. However, that is not the case as the diversity figures within the industry have shown over many years. So what can we do to encourage people to continue to develop and to value continued learning?
The report does highlight that almost three-quarters of people felt that upskilling was crucial to their progression. This is important as the PR industry continues to develop. Even in my specific area looking at crisis communication there have been significant developments in the past two years. If I am going to be able to provide the best service to my clients I have to keep up-to-date with these changes and what they mean. It is the same across the PR industry. Everything we do is influenced by developments in society and this means a necessity to keep skills updated.
What matters now is what happens with the details in the report. How can the CIPR, PRCA , CIM and other professional bodies work together to make a difference? How can Chartered status be given a boost so that people see it as an important part of career progression? How can we make sure that those coming into the industry are focused on professional development?
For my part I will continue to champion ensuring personal and professional development continues throughout our working lives, and to encourage more to look to achieve Chartered status.