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Which are the best membership organisations and why?


Recently, I've been engrossed by the facinating and volatile trainers debate within the CIPD

concerning whether trainers consider their memebership worthwhile. I've decided to leave the CIPD as a result but was wondering if others had better suggestions and what are the real issues that matter.

Also, why is it that the IITT has no connection with the CIPD?

Juliet LeFevre

16 Responses

  1. I quit too
    Actually I was so disappointed by the standard of the CITP that I never actually filled in my membership form and paid my subscription.

    I’ve no doubt that the CIPD is the best possible training for HR professionals. I just don’t consider training to be an HR profession, there’s definitely an element of HR in the soft skills or management training approach but nothing you can’t look up on the internet for free in minutes – instead of hours of lessons through the CIPD.

    And for IT trainers the HR influence is an absolute minimum.

    It is time that there was a chartered institute of training or something along those lines, where the needs of our profession are not subsumed into another for the ease of things.

    Training should be an operational function not a support function. It should drive business change and improvement, not merely support it. And it’s time that training divorced HR and stood on it’s own in business.

    How many HR managers/directors really understand the demands and rewards of training better than the training professionals they employ?

  2. re CIPD
    I think this is an interesting debate as someone considering which association/organisation to join after many years of actually delivering training I wish to align myself with an organisation that reflects what I do. Does anyone have any comments on ILM? I would welcome advice and comment too.

  3. ITOL
    As director of the Institute of Training and Occupational Learning (ITOL), I think that professional trainers will find a more appropriate home with us.

    Founded 5 years ago, our aim is to promote best practices in the development of occupational skills and knowledge to the benefit of individuals, employers and the wider community. To achieve this we will:

    * Become the professional body of first choice for those specialising in training, development and occupational learning
    * Research, develop and promote best practices in training, development and occupational learning
    * Create a learning climate in which our members can develop their own learning
    * Advance the status and professional standing of our members.

    ITOL’s membership encompasses Training Directors, Training Instructors, Training Managers, Consultants, Professors, Lecturers, Training Designers etc.

  4. Hour Glass Affect
    I remember the days when we had training people and personnel people then someone came up with the bright idea of having Human Resources. The same thing happened with associations which then turned into CIPD, unfortunately Personnel out numbered Development and that is the situation today. We are now in a position of a lot of people talking about training but few really doing it. The industry is like an hour glass; we where apart at the beginning, came together in the middle and now it looks likes like we need to go apart again to achieve anything worth while.

  5. Move for Separation
    I have been working in L&D for nearly 10 years and have always felt under represented by the leading professional bodies. The CPD available from CIPD has always seemed weighted towards HR professionals with little pure L&D core subjects. The pairing of HR with L&D is convenient for smaller organisations, however there are tensions and these remain unresolved. I would like to see the CIPD focussing more on L&D and Organisational Development or a L&D professional body that represents and aknowledges the breadth and scope of the skills that L&D consultants, managers and advisors provide in the workplace.

  6. Learning and development…bottom line orientation
    Learning and development as an activity needs to have a very solid focus on the bottom line result.

    If you agree with that then there is a case for L&D being allied to the commercial aspects of an employer rather than an HR function…
    unless you believe that an HR function IS commercially focussed rather than being an “admin and welfare” function.

    Certainly I find as a consultant that the L&D functions that are embedded into HR departments are often (not always) seen by the line as something of a “nice to have” rather than a definite contributor to the profitability of a company.

    As to the membership organisation question it depends on YOUR objective.
    Here’s a thought;
    if you want post nominal letters to gain credibility with your customer then if your customer is an HR person CMCIPD may be best. However, if your customer is a line manager in, say, Marketing then MITOL may be best.
    If you want to belong to an organisation that represents your views the outcomes may be different. Similarly if CPD is your goal….

  7. Alternatives to CIPD
    I would question what your reasons for being a member of an organisation are. If you are after credibility (and I do have real issues with companies that believe membership of an organisation gives you credibility) then unfortunately the number of jobs that request CIPD essential leads me to believe that you should renew your membership (although you may gain nothing in a development way from your membership you should save a few recruitment consultants a bit of time in their detailed sift of CV’s to match the right candidate to the job). If you are wanting to personally develop your skills and knowledge then I would probably look more for an accreditation rather than an association. If you are looking for networking opportunities and the chance to share best practice and ideas then online forums such as this and others like trainerbase and livefortraining should be more than sufficient for your needs.

    Andrew Laycock

  8. IITT and CIPD
    I am a Fellow of the IITT and Training Provider Assessor for them. The IITT was founded to focus specifically on IT Training standards and professionalism. It does have links with CIPD in that for proof of training skill, the IITT recognises the relevant CIPD qualification. However, IITT also concentrates on IT Trainers having technical certification too, as well as the training companies (or departments) having provider accreditation.

    I hope this explanation helps. For more information, please go to
    Best wishes, Stephanie.

  9. Relevant professional body
    My only comment as a trainer, training manager, training consultant, author of 33 training and allied books, is to read Jeffrey Brooks’ letter about the value of becoming a member of ITOL – the only UK Institute created for people in the full range of the training and development profession.

  10. To belong or not to belong to HR
    I go back to Nik’s original query about the closeness of association between HR and HRD. The only connecting link is “people”. It has long bugged me that HRD or L&D or whatever it is called is nearly always (well, I think BirminghamMidshires reversed it actually, my only example) a “department” of HR. HR today has a frantic obsession with being “strategic”. No such worries for L&D – they are by their very nature essentially strategic, building the human capital of the organisation and supporting individual and collective change.

    So L&D/HRD should ideally be in the strategic development department; better in the “Intellectual Assets Growth” department (along with knowledge management); better still reporting directly to the Management Committee. But not under HR.

  11. CIPD membership…
    Well, as someone who has just joined ITOL, and will let my CIPD memberhip lapse all I can say is that I am disgusted at the attitude of the CIPD towards trainers.

    I have been vocal in the CIPD forum on this, even to the extent of writing to complain…all to receive the same old same old.

    They do not derserve my money at all and IMHO they are a was of space as far as trainers go.

    Andy Miller

  12. CIPD membership renewal?
    I have the renewal form on my desk – and this year it will probably end up in the bin. The ONLY thing I pay the subs for is the letters: ‘Chartered MCIPD’

    I can see no benefit in being a member, only occasionally do clients ask if I am a member and there is nothing in the journal to interest me.

    Needless to say, I am a self-employed trainer and not someone who wants employment and promotion within an HR department.

  13. Unclear
    Hey Julie,

    Can I ask you a question? Why did you bother studying for it (all that superfluous HR stuff) if you dont get anything from your MCIPD?

  14. About to quit too
    Hi Julie

    You have made an incorrect assumption… I did not study to get Chartered MCIPD as I was already a full member of the (very good and relevant) ITD before it was swallowed up by the IPD. I felt membership of the ITD was valuable and helped clients identify me as a professional trainer. A general knowledge of HR issues is handy background knowledge, but not as important to me as knowledge of business, general management, accounts, teaching and how people learn – all of which I have studied and gained valuable qualifications in. Like many trainers I voted against the merger with the IPD fearing that the HR side would swamp the training side – after all the ITD was (correct me if I am wrong, someone with a longer memory) formed by people who broke away from the IPD because of the very issues people are raising today. I can see that for people for whom training is just one part of their function – membership of an HR institute is useful – but not otherwise.

    One final point for people thinking of quiting – remember there is discounted public liability insurance available if you are a member of the CIPD, and this needs to be considered. Having said that, there may be better deals around anyway.

  15. My money’s with the British Learning Association
    About 6 months ago I joined the British Learning Association (BLA), without particularly high expectations – membership prices are pretty cheap.

    I’m pleased to say however that I’ve been bowled over by the quality of the information they share, and by the values that they live up to.

    My bet is that it’s the BLA that will prove to fill the void for a dedicated professional body for the training industry.

  16. if it’s not too late..

    to post a comment to this thread, and speaking personally, I have joined organisations as a sales and marketing mechanism.

    It can make it easier for selection purposes (ie giving someone training/ writing/other business) if the ‘buyer’ can understand some of the ‘seller’s’ background.

    Joining a specific organisation can reflect a way of thinking in my view, especially if you are a freelance trainer/ writer.

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