Employer funding for qualifications

About the author

Ann is a co-founder of PR Academy. Her special areas of interest are internal communication, change management and project communication. MSc, Dip CAM, MCIPR

Research carried out by PR Academy – the largest provider of Chartered Institute of Public Relations qualifications – suggests that, despite the prolonged difficult economic climate, employers are continuing to provide funding for professional qualifications for communicators.

PR Academy first introduced its ‘Qualifications for Communicators: Trends Survey’ last year to find out more about the status of its students and their views on professional qualifications.

In its second report, released today, 66% of respondents indicate that they have funding for qualifications available through their employer. While up by only one percentage point on last year’s 65%, findings suggest that funding has not yet been impacted by budget cuts – particularly those affecting the public sector. In fact, the proportion of respondents coming from the public sector indicating that they have funding available has risen from 64% last year to 70% this year.

Despite the reported widespread public sector budget cuts, our survey results suggest that this hasn’t impacted ongoing education amongst our students – the proportion of respondents coming from the sector remains constant at 51%. Just over one third (35%) come from the private sector, with the remainder working in the not-for-profit sector.

Ann Pilkington, Director of PR Academy: “The survey has provided us with some reassuring signs that professional qualifications for communicators continue to be valued by employers. Despite challenging economic times, they are still providing communications practitioners with access to funding that will allow them to acquire the skills and knowledge to do what they do more effectively.”

Sally Sykes FCIPR, HSE Communications Director and CIPR President 2012:
“It is important that practitioners at all levels pursue professional qualifications (up to the highest level of CIPR Chartered Practitioner) so that, over time, we raise the bar in giving consistently good strategic advice to our clients and businesses. The PR Academy survey is a really good way of tracking the take up and impact of professional qualifications”

Steve Falla FCIPR, Director of Orchard PR:
“From the conversations that I have with peers I’m pleasantly surprised that the findings of the survey read so positively. It’s tough in the consultancy world. At Orchard, we remain committed to budgeting for training, even if it’s at the expense of investment elsewhere, and we expect that our new entrants into the PR profession will sign up to study for CIPR qualifications. It broadens their thinking, sharpens their skills and raises their expectations to learn the theory while working very hard at the practice.”

The survey also includes information about the students’ education, the sector they mostly work in, why they have or are studying for a professional qualification and whether they think holding a professional qualification has or will lead to career progression.

For more information, please contact Nina Croad, Communications Consultant, Just Bee Comms on +44 7889 491 259 or nina@justbeecomms.com

About the research
The survey was conducted online using Survey Monkey in December 2011. The results are based on 154 respondents – all are past and present students of PR Academy.

About PR Academy
PR Academy is the major course provider for the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR). It delivers a wide range of face-to-face and online courses. More than 500 communications practitioners studied with PR Academy last year. PR Academy also develops and delivers bespoke face-to-face and online courses for communications professionals, and offers career coaching. www.pracademy.co.uk