CIPR offers new qualification in internal communication

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The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), the PR industry body in the UK, has launched the Internal Communication Certificate, a professional qualification aimed at those in the first few years of their internal communication career, those considering a career in internal communication, or those working in a related field (media relations, for instance, or event management, CSR or public affairs), as well as any practitioner interested in knowing more about this area.

In explaining why it’s offering this course, the CIPR says:

The demand for effective internal communication and skilled internal communicators is set to increase as the changing economic environment and impact of new (social) media mean organisations must get better at informing, educating and engaging their people to help them achieve their objectives.

The syllabus focuses on these key topics:

  • Organizational culture and transformation
  • Communication theory and strategic internal communication and engagement
  • Planning and managing
  • Setting the right tone – the fit between internal and external communication
  • Using social media for internal communication
  • Role of communications in transforming organizations

At first glance, it might seem strange for the professional body for PR practitioners to be offering a training course in internal communication. Yet it does make sense as the CIPR has a strong focus on developing communicators’ internal communication skills.

Lee Smith, chair of ClPR Inside, the Institute’s specialist group for internal communicators, says this of the new CIPR-accredited qualification:

[…] [It’s] an important first step towards raising standards and ensuring new entrants to the profession have the knowledge and skills they need to approach their task strategically and to add real value to their organisations.

The bold is my emphasis as that statement resonates strongly with me. It’s one I believe will be increasingly important to both organizations and communicators, a view clearly evident in credible research during the past year from organizations such as the Arthur W. Page Society and their Authentic Enterprise survey report (PDF).

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The Authentic Enterprise includes the results of in-depth interviews with the CEOs of 31 US and international companies that have more than $2 billion in revenue.

The report includes compelling information on the communication leadership role the CEOs surveyed by Arthur W. Page expect of their senior communicators.

In the context of internal communication, that leadership role includes “enabling the enterprise with ‘new media’ skills and tools.”

That means social media, two words I was especially pleased to see in the syllabus of this new CIPR internal communication qualification.

The CIPR Internal Communication Certificate is a six-month course, starting in January 2009. It will be delivered in central London by The PR Academy, a firm the CIPR has worked with for some years and who provide other CIPR qualifications.

The CIPR says it’s the only qualification for internal communicators awarded by a Chartered Institute and, while a valuable qualification in its own right, it also prepares you for the CIPR Advanced Certificate and Diploma in Public Relations.

Full details, including pricing and entry requirements, on the CIPR website.

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Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Liam FitzPatrick

    This step is well overdue.

    For a long time I have felt that the CIPR should change its name to the Institute for Communicators as a focus on the purely external aspects of reputation and communication management is very outdated. It’s also very interesting that a significant portion of British internal communicators start thier careers in PR and gravitate inside so it’s hardly surprising that the CIPR has finally woken up to the need to support the development of practitioners.

    The beauty of this qualification – unlike virtually all of the other qualifications on offer in the UK – has a propery state regulated quality framework behind it. As a Chartered body, the CIPR’s qualifications have to meet official standards for consistency in attainment and teaching.

    Well done to the CIPR

    Liam FitzPatrick (FCIPR)

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