Global Body Of Knowledge – An important but Herculean task

Ten months ago I published a blog about a project to develop an internationally recognised competency framework for the PR profession.

The ‘Global Body Of Knowledge’, is an attempt to have one set of standards and a pool of learning to help steer the world’s PR practitioners throughout their career and to establish PR on a professional footing. To put it another way, the PR industry is taking a big step to being recognised as a true profession. One that operates globally.

So PRs from Varanasi to Vancouver, Bristol to Buenos Aires can develop their careers in the knowledge that their skillsets, expertise and experience will be accepted wherever their career takes them across the world.

The project team having moved on from the 2015 consultation stage and revealed at the recent World Public Relations Forum in Toronto, Canada, the latest version of the framework. This version, building on the feedback from the consultation, details the skillsets for two stages of practitioners – entry level and senior level/mid-career.

An unexpected complication was that the exchange of ideas pulled together past/current practice (20th Century) at the expense of thinking about tomorrow’s needs and expectations (21st Century). I did not say it was going to be easy and neither did those who decided to take on this Herculean task!

So next step, undertaken by Anne Gregory and Johanna Fawkes at the University of Huddersfield, will be to deliver a framework which will help define the competent PR Practitioner of tomorrow.

When I wrote about the project last year, I described it this way:

Often our industry is wracked with low confidence, lower aspirations, and an inability to express the importance of the role and self-doubts when it should be promoting itself. A new global standard of professionalism might help change this.

Stephen Waddington in his characteristic direct way goes to the heart of the issue in his recent blog.

Less than 3% of public relations practitioners participate in a credentialing scheme. It’s an issue that needs urgent attention.

If we don’t have recognised professional standards, proving that Public Relations is a profession becomes more difficult.  The team’s next deadline is to present the framework at the next WPRF in Oslo in 2018.

They have accomplished a lot over last two years. I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings.

Cornelius Alexander

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