Is L&D a real profession?

This month is #chat2lrn’s 4th birthday!  Our conversations together started in January 2012.  We spend our working lives supporting others….helping our colleagues develop skills that will improve their individual skills and impact on organisational and business performance. So to start the year, lets first take time to reflect and ask a very basic question…..

Is L&D a real profession?

This week’s post comes from #chat2lrn crew member, Judith Christian-Carter B.Ed (Hons), M.Phil, FLPI, Chartered FCIPD. Judith is a Director of Effective Learning Solutions, a UK-based learning services company. You can find her on Twitter @JudithELS

chat2lrn judith image

I imagine to some people, the very question “Is L&D a real profession?” is nothing but akin to sacrilege! However, as the term ‘L&D Professional’ or ‘Learning Professional’ is used a lot these days, the time has come to ask whether L&D is a real profession and, if not, then should it become one?

The importance of being a professional

Many occupations and trades have their own professional organisations, such as architects, engineers, lawyers, doctors and nurses. The reason for this is simple; it helps to make them an established, recognised and respected group of people. Anyone, in any area of business, usually wishes to be recognised and respected for what they can do, and my guess is that L&D is no exception in this regard.

Recognition is probably the key aim in terms of being regarded as a true professional. Others are naturally drawn to those whose professionalism is recognised, and are prepared to put their trust in them and to use their services. The term ‘cowboys’ is often used to describe unqualified, non-professional people who require payment for their services. Whilst there are those who are quite prepared to take a risk and employ such people, most migrate naturally to those who have professional qualifications and experience, even with the knowledge that they will have to pay more for the latter’s services.

What of L&D?

In all probability, the need for L&D to be seen as a real profession has never been more needed or important than today. With changing organisational structures and functions, with greater demands on budgets and financial spend, and with an increasing emphasis on workplace performance, this all means that the role and achievements of L&D are continually under the spotlight. If L&D is to have its place at the top table then it has to show that it is a real profession and to behave like one.

But what, exactly, does this take to achieve? Accredited and relevant qualifications (of which there are many), membership of a recognised organisation (such as an institute or an association), postnominal letters, conformance to standards/an official code of conduct, appropriate knowledge, skills and experience? Some of these, or all of these?

The current state of play

So, how do you think the land lies today? Does L&D need to be a real profession, is it one already and, if not, what needs to be done to make it one that is recognised world-wide? 

Join in and discuss these and other questions on 14 January, 2016 and let’s kick-off our 5th year in true #chat2lrn style!  08.00 PST/11.00 EST /16.00 GMT

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