But it's OK, 'cause I've got a PhD in piss-taking...
If you're a regular viewer, you'll already know that TWL has a less-than-favourable view of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (see here and here, for example). We're not entirely sure why...it just seems like a bit of a stuffy old institution that is struggling to remain relevant.
This week's fuel to our fire is a letter in PRWeak from Mark Ramsdale, head of education policy at the CIPR. From what we can ascertain, the CIPR's education policy seems to be: "If you haven't got a degree in PR, you shouldn't be in the industry."
Under the headline, "PR degrees should be a recruitment must" which, admittedly, we don't know whether was penned by Ramsdale or PRWeak's editorial staff, he writes: "PR is a strategic business function and requires a skills set that non-PR degrees simply do not provide."
Not only do I think that this entirely ignores the excellent training and skills programmes in place at many of the UK's PR consultancies, I also don't think it's true! For me, qualities that are vital in succeeding in PR include a decent level of intelligence, a willingness to learn, an ability to write, a proactive approach, a dash of confidence and some half-decent presentation skills...all of which can be gained in degrees covering many different subjects and, indeed, through experience outside higher educational establishments...like it can for other important roles.
For instance, some might say that being a CEO is a fairly "strategic business function" but I don't see the Chartered Institute of Chief Executives calling for a policy of degrees in Chief Executing being essential for new recruits...
Ramsdale goes on to state that, "The CIPR approves degree courses based on their ability to equip students with the necessary training to operate as effective PR professionals." That's fine - I have no problem with PR degrees per se - but to say that only those people that have been through a CIPR approved degree should find employment in the industry is elitist and arrogant.
How many superb PR practitioners would have been lost to the industry had such a policy become entrenched decades ago? Indeed, the only reason that UK universities have been able to create PR degrees (and to have them full to bursting and generating lots of lovely tuition fees) is because people without PR degrees built an industry! And now we're told that those very same people haven't got the requisite skills...(as you might have guessed, I lack a degree in PR...)
I ask you, I really do.