Chartered PR Practitioner Q&A: Clare Parker on the defence communicator

One of my commitments as CIPR President was to promote the value of learning and development as a foundation for professionalism.

Throughout the year I’m going to blog interviews with practitioners that have achieved Chartered PR Practitioner status to understand their motivation and perspective on the profession.

The Chartered Practitioner qualification is pitched by the CIPR as “a benchmark for those working at a senior level and a ‘gold standard’ to which all PR practitioners should strive to reach.” It consists of an initial questionnaire on your career, a paper and formal interview.

Clare Parker’s paper explored the role and skills of modern defence communicators.

clare-parkerWho are you and what’s your day job?

I’m Assistant Head, Training Development at the Joint Information Activities Group, Joint Force Command (Ministry of Defence).

As well as developing and delivering media and communications training for the Armed Forces, I assist with planning Strategic Communications engagement and support deployed personnel on operations and exercises with communications analysis and evaluation.

What’s the greatest opportunity for the public relations profession?

Digital communication has brought enormous scope for creativity but the good practitioner shouldn’t forget that there’s a human being out there on the receiving end of our work and advice. I also see digital being more localised, having watched some innovative messaging from agencies and businesses during the winter storms in my region.

I’m a firm believer in always learning, and working in the modern communications environment proves that a practitioner can never be complacent with their skills. The public relations profession has a great opportunity to put continuous professional development at the heart of its ethos.

Why did you apply for Chartered PR Practitioner status?

I saw it as a consolidation of my career so far. Having worked in both the private and public sector I thought it was time to look in depth at what I have achieved, gain some external recognition for the work I have done, and use it as a process to look ahead at what comes next.

How did you find the assessment process?

On the one hand it was difficult, but so it should be. If it is to be the gold standard of practice, it shouldn’t be an easy process, nor awarded to everyone on application. Being challenged to justify decision making and pursuing a particular line of research was an excellent and fulfilling experience.

What was the topic of your paper and what did you learn?

The paper was about developing and training professional media and communications skills to Armed Forces personnel, as well as capturing those skills in a competence framework.

The paper I wrote was an explanation of the extensive research, advocacy and stakeholder engagement required to build and implement a framework to improve skills. Again, having to write the paper acted as a worthy exercise in justifying the whole development process.

Clare’s paper is not available because of security restrictions.

Further information

You can connect with Clare via LinkedIn or Twitter (@wavingcloud), and if you’re interested in further information about learning and development please check the CIPR website.

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Professional advisor for agencies and communication teams, Wadds Inc. Author: #brandvandals, Exploring PR and Management Communication. #PRstack, Share This, and others. Visiting Professor, Newcastle University.

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