At the beginning of the year I wrote that I planned to re-apply for Chartered PR Practitioner status (this is the proper title. An abbreviation such as CPR would be so much easier)!
I had seen the calibre of person who had achieved Chartered PR Practitioner status previously and was concerned that the ‘Gold Standard’ was just that – something which only very senior practitioners who worked for Blue Chip organisations could attain. Where were the PROs working for charities and local councils? Would they be able to achieve it despite the CIPR saying it was equally for them?
I personally think it is important the CIPR (in fact the industry) does have a status which shows to employers that the practitioner is dedicated to their craft, wants to attain a recognised high standard and wants to maintain that high standard. But at that time after five years of existence less than 50 practitioners had been awarded CIPR Chartered PR Practitioner status.
With that in mind the only way to see how equitable the process was, I as a practitioner who worked only in the public sector decided to re-apply.
Well, I was successful. I have been awarded CIPR Chartered PR Practitioner status.
It was every bit as challenging as I remembered it. It also forced me to think about the work I have carried out over the last few years and how that fitted with what the CIPR was looking for as a Chartered PR Practitioner
In order to re-take my stage 3 exam I had to document about what I have done since my last Stage 3 specifically how I used the feedback to tackle gaps in my knowledge and expertise.
It is hard to actually stand back and to be self-critical in order to review your own work. Fortunately, I had a friend who was able to support and push me in equal measure.
The key thing about this part of the process was that I had transferable skills and experience, from both my day job and voluntary work. I just needed to make the argument that I had what was required. In a way, I came to see Chartered PR Practitioner status not as a mountain to climb but as a platform to showcase my years of experience.
Believe me. This is easier said than done but if it is supposed to be a senior status it is not going to be easy. You do have to put the work in.
So having gone through the process what could be done to encourage more participants?
I think it is important that more practitioners gain CIPR Chartered PR Practitioner status and particularly that it should be sold to younger practitioners. It is not an Award and shouldn’t be seen as such. It is a public commitment to strive to be the best in order to improve the overall standing of the industry. If you have 25 years experience you could argue that you don’t need CIPR Chartered PR Practitioner status but we need to move away from any notion that it is for time served.
In Canada, when people apply for their APR accreditation they are coached and attend workshops with others to work toward accreditation. If we want younger practitioners to take it up we should see what support we can give them.
In fact, we need to promote CIPR Chartered PR Practitioner status within the CIPR to all members so they can consider whether they want to go for it. I think there is a little bit of a knowledge gap re the difference between CIPR Chartered PR Practitioner and Accredited Practitioner status.
Equally we need to sell it to the likes of the CBI and IoD so if they are looking for an experienced senior practitioner CIPR Chartered PR Practitioner status goes some way to pointing them to someone who has shown commitment and dedication.
And me. I am going to sit back and think enjoy the achievement. But at the back of my mind I know that although we are closer to 50 Chartered PR Practitioners. We need more. A lot more.