For a long time we in the Welfare to Work and Employability industry bemoaned that many of us seemed to have come to the industry by accident and that somehow this felt like second class citizenship compared to similar roles in related sectors. We wanted to be taken seriously as professionals, to have a career pathway with professional qualifications and to have employability seen as a career destination of choice rather than default.
Well, we can stop complaining, that period is over. We now have both an industry designed qualifications routeway, currently at both levels 3 and 4, AND a professional membership body, the Institute of Employability Professionals (IEP). Moving forward this is a twin track of qualifications and professional membership.
The Institute is now planning the qualification structure past Level 4 in conjunction with the work being undertaken by the new Careers Development Institute, and will support the work of the proposed FE Guild. Members have a fantastic role to play in developing higher practitioner and management qualifications. Other sub groups are being formed around special interests e.g. education business partnerships, dealing with customers with mental health issues, homeless customers where we need member expertise to continue to develop our routeways.
IEP is open for business and we need individuals who care about their industry and their professional status to get behind this and actually join. Membership is open to all those working in and committed to the sector, the level of membership depends on experience and qualifications. Recent memberships include local authority based employability and regeneration specialists, voluntary and community sector members, college tutors and those from Prime contractors and their supply chains.
Overwhelmingly across the sector organisations of all sizes have resounding supported membership and many are holding membership events around the country over the coming months. They recognise that professional standards equal improved performance.
But better than hearing it from them, hear it from, Jo Carter, a personal advisor from Crewe who said,
“The Institute will show that we are professional people, that we are passionate about what we do. This is for us, the individuals not the corporations. We are changing people’s lives, that is what we are here to do. The Institute will bring everybody together.”
This is the time to be part of this new professional body and take a lead in shaping its future development. IEP is open for business and membership – are you?
Janette Faherty OBE is chair of the Institute of Employability Professionals (IEP)
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