The launch of the IPR’s continuous professional development scheme
and its early adoption by a leading multi-national and a top ten agency
sets an important precedent for the PR industry.
The heat of debate at the recent Best Practice work group on this
subject underlines the crucial importance of training as an issue for
developing professionalism in the industry.
But a dearth of talented middle managers caused by the cutbacks in
training in the early-1990s has inevitably led to a concentration on
developing skills at account manager level, with enormous weighting on
implementational and, in particular, media relations skills.
As managers scale the career ladder and their skills become a more
expensive commodity, the benefits of formal training tend to be weighed
against the loss in terms of expensive man hours - with all too often an
If this industry is to keep up with the incredible rate of change and
pressures not only within the internet and media, but also in terms of
corporate governance and societal expectations of corporate
responsibility, an industry-wide commitment must be made to career-long
learning. But if training is to be more than an occasional activity, it
pays to throw a certain amount of responsibility back on the
While a minimum requirement for training should be taken as a given,
companies also need to work at encouraging individuals to seek ways of
improving their professional skills through a variety of avenues and not
just through a programme of external training days. Both agencies and
in-house departments need to look at developing a culture of PR