Tuesday 4 June 2019

Professional Registration & Portfolio Building Workshop, 10 April 2019

Presented by Kirsty Franks, candidate support officer for CILIP South-East

Eighteen people came along to Kirsty’s talk, held at the Reading University Whiteknights campus branch of the Henley Business School.

Kirsty guided us, very clearly and usefully, through the following broad areas in her talk:
- the steps to professional registration
- the structure of CILIP’s Professional Knowledge and Skills Base (PKSB)
- what is needed in a submission for registration

Most of the audience were considering chartership, but there was also at least one (me!) wanting to embark on certification, and at least one considering fellowship. The process follows the same steps at all levels – though the content and approach changes – so much of what Kirsty told us was relevant to everyone. 

Once you’ve decided on the level you are aiming at the next step is to find a mentor – everyone undertaking professional registration with CILIP needs a mentor. There is a list of mentors available on the CILIP website. When you make contact with someone it’s a good idea to tell them why you want them in particular to act as your mentor. It’s important to check early on that your timeframe will work for them, too: you should expect chartership to take one to two years to complete.

Your mentor should never be your line manager, and ideally they should be someone outside your own sector. When you find a mentor you both need to decide whether the relationship will work – and at any point throughout your registration journey you (or they) can decide that you need a new mentor. That can be for any number of good reasons, so this shouldn’t be a cause of stress to either party in the relationship.

Kirsty explained that the PKSB identifies different areas of professional competence for information professionals. For professional registration, at any of the three levels, a candidate should identify about ten areas where they want to develop. For the registration process, candidates need to chart that development. A thread throughout the talk was the importance of showing development from where you begin, to where you get to when you submit, and the need to capture your development as it happens, rather than retrospectively.

There are three compulsory PKSB areas that must be included in your submission: ethics and values; wider library, information and knowledge sector context; and wider organisation and environmental context. Candidates should then select a number of other areas in which they want to develop. Kirsty suggests that about seven areas – in addition to the three compulsory areas – is about right. There are about ninety areas to choose from, thanks to the subdivisions within the twelve numbered areas.

Kirsty’s tip was to start selecting your areas somewhere other than 1 (Organising knowledge and information) and 2 (Knowledge and information management), as these were the weightiest and therefore not the most accessible place to start, and her advice is to aim for a nice range of scores from 0s to 4s.

You should choose a mix of some core information skills and some more generic skills, and you should be identifying your current rating, and your ideal rating – but don’t get bogged down worrying about completely accurate ratings. The PKSB is not itself assessed – it’s there to help you structure your development.

For the areas on your PKSB that you want to improve you need to show evidence of the work you have done to develop in those areas – for example, visits to other libraries, work projects, things you have read, events you have attended – and then show reflection on your development. Your written reflections are the evidence you will need for the registration submission. Kirsty’s advice is to upload your reflective writing immediately (it helps protect you from the temptation to rewrite), but you can choose to upload everything later. At some point, though, you will need to collect everything you need in your online portfolio, for submission to your assessor.

For the submission you will need: your reflective-writing evidence (and any other evidence you want to include), plus supporting documentation (an annotated CV, a current job description, and a completed mentor-mentee form), your initial and final PKSB assessments, and an evaluative statement. This last is the only component that has a word limit – an absolute limit of 1000 words (but keep in mind the assessor who has to read all your materials!). When you are selecting evidence you probably want to choose the best two or three pieces of reflective writing for each area. The layout of the submission is up to you. There are some examples on the CILIP website that might help you decide on your preferred display. 

These were some of the tips and pointers I gleaned from the event. The talk was further illuminated from Kirsty’s own experience of certification and chartership, and there was an opportunity at the end of the session for attendees to ask questions and to benefit further from Kirsty’s expertise in supporting candidates through professional registration.

I would definitely recommend to anyone considering registration at any level (or revalidation) that they seek out a similar event to hear more at first-hand about the PKSB, the online submission process, and professional registration more generally.

Sarah Mann
Chair, CILIP in the Thames Valley

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