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Get Chartered – wherever you are!

By Eva Maclaine, CIPR International Ambassador and former Chair

The restrictions imposed by COVID-19 mean that CIPR has changed the way it runs its Chartership Assessment days. It is now running these online, at a reduced fee, so CIPR members anywhere in the world can get chartered.

I was one of the first cohort of members to be chartered and became chartered when I was elected to Council. I could hardly encourage others to do it if I hadn’t gone through it myself! In any event I enjoy stretching myself and the chartership process certainly did that.

It is surprising and very gratifying how many overseas practitioners value it, perhaps not always appreciating the full background.

Most importantly employers and clients want to work with trustworthy, proven professionals who can protect and enhance their organisation and they value the badge of authenticity chartership brings. This was brought home to me forcefully when in conversation recently with an MD of a project management company, he observed: “I would never hire an engineer who was not chartered. I would have far more confidence in someone who is chartered.”

What is Chartership?

The CIPR is the only public relations organisation with a Royal Charter enabling it to assess and award Chartered PR Practitioner status.

Chartered status represents the highest standard of professional excellence and integrity. As well as reflecting your breadth of experience and achievements, it shows you keep pace in a fast-moving profession, updating your knowledge and skills through CPD. Attaining chartership brings many benefits. It enables you to:

  • Demonstrate to your peers that you have met the rigorous criteria set out for chartered status

  • Enjoy greater influence within your organisation and in the profession

  • Gain a professional competitive edge and enhance your career prospects

  • Reassure prospective employers and clients that you practise to the highest standards

  • Chartered Public Relations Practitioners are entitled to use the designation Chart.PR and a supporting logo.

Who is eligible?

If you are an MCIPR or FCIPR grade member and are registered on the CIPR CPD ladder, you can apply to become a Chartered PR Practitioner.

You will need evidence of your commitment to life-long learning, which can include CIPR CPD, CIPR Qualifications/Training, or other evidence of recent professional development in public relations.

What does it involve?

The Chartership Assessment Day is a full day that focuses on three main ‘Assessed Competences’ – Ethics, Strategy and Leadership – and a peer review of CPD plans. It concludes with a short reception and a presentation of chartership certificates to those who have been assessed to proceed.

At the start of the day, you’re asked to introduce yourself briefly to the assessors and other candidates. After introductions, you are placed in a group of around five candidates and one or two assessors. You are with this group throughout the day.

The assessment criteria are drawn from the ‘Global Body of Knowledge’ developed by the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communications Management in 2015.

Candidates are assessed according to six general skills and three key categories.

General skills:

  • Mastery of language in oral communication

  • Sensitive interpersonal communication and emotional intelligence

  • High-level public speaking and presentation

  • Critical listening

  • Contextual awareness

  • Problem-solving, critical thinking and adaptability

Key assessment categories:

  • Ethics

  • Strategy

  • Leadership

Full details of what to expect, and what the assessors are looking for, can be found here.

Hear from those who’ve been through it

Several members of your International Committee have been through the Chartership Assessment process and have found the whole experience very positive.

Jason Mackenzie, former CIPR president and International Committee member, says “Becoming a Chartered Public Relations Practitioner ought to be the global benchmark for high standards of PR practice. When I became the 51st person to become Chartered, it was hard to see how it would grow and scale exponentially.

“Now that Chart. PR. is gaining momentum, the time has come to go global. One of the upsides of Coronavirus has been that we've had to go digital. That means we can go to the world. If you're a CIPR member and you're committed to CPD and lifelong learning, now is the time to #GetChartered.”

Farzana Baduel, CIPR Committee member and CEO of Curzon PR, says: “In 2018, I was travelling to the Chartered Institute of Public RelationsHQ in Russell Square for a day of assessment to become a Chartered Practitioner of PR. There are over 71,000 PRs in the UK and only 255 are Chartered. An hour before my exam, I had a sudden fear of failure and was about to walk away from the assessment. It is particularly difficult for a senior professional to undergo assessment due to the potential embarrassment and having to face colleagues afterwards. However, my dear friend and colleague Neha Desai urged me to go ahead and I didn’t want to let Jason MacKenzie down after he had encouraged me to apply for the assessment. After a day of the assessment, I passed.

“One of my main drivers was a belief in the importance of the professionalisation of the public relations industry, but also the need to constantly learn and set new challenges. You are never too old to learn. Fight the fear, imposter syndrome, low self-esteem, whatever holds you back and go forth and learn bravely. I wish you all a lifetime of learning.”

As for myself, in the future I would like the PR chartership to be recognised in the same way as many others are. An engineer I was talking with a few months ago told me that he would never employ engineers who were not chartered. That is where our industry must aim.

Faryal Mirza, a CIPR International committee member based in Switzerland, observed: “Striving for chartership as an experienced practitioner was a logical step for me after having completed the postgraduate PR Diploma and fulfilling CPD requirements. Achieving this international recognition in December 2018, thus attaining the gold standard for our profession, is an accomplishment of which I am proud. Was it hard work? Yes. Was it worth it? Definitely.”

So why not make it one of your goals for 2020 and apply to #GetChartered now!


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