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Seb Anthony

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Which professional body is best?


HI, I'm reassessing my membership of professional organisations. I'm only aware of two that seem the most popular and relevant to freelance trainers, ITOL and CIPD.
I'd appreciate some advice on which one provides the best

1. Benefits - eg. insurance, best magazine, (jobs section, info etc)
2. Source on information on training only (not generalist HR issues)
3. Best recognition/usefulness in the wider world.
4. Best overall value for money for its subscription
5. Have I missed any other relevant professional bodies that might be worth joining?

Your thoughts greatly appreciated.

Mark Starling

6 Responses

  1. CIPD v ITOL
    There has been a long running debate on this same issue on one of the other online forums, UKHRD (hope I’m allowed to mention that one on here! LOL!).

    Not being a member of either, I can report objectively that the feeling seems to be that the CIPD tends to favour the HR professional (someone commented that you struggled to find anything about training in the regular magazine), whereas ITOL is focused on supporting the trainer.

    I agree with Richard’s “tongue in cheek” comment though. I’ve found this site to be a very useful source of contacts and information which has had a positive impact on my work. I’m not sure if I would have been able to have got such support from one of the “official” institutes, at least not for such good value for money!

  2. Insurance
    Mark, in response to your email about insurance: OK,OK, you got me there!

    It’s not something that ‘we do’, but I put ‘insurance’ in the search box at the top right of this page and looked under the Any Answers heading and found 5 questions containing previous debates and recommendations.

    So I’m afraid we can only offer tried and tested advice from peers with real life experience (both positive and negative).

    However if anyone is willing to pay for TrainingZONE insurance (what a thought!)….

  3. Which professional body is best?

    You do not mention which type of training activity you are engaged in.

    If you are an IT Trainer then I would strongly recommend that you also consider joining the Institute of IT Training. You can find out more at:

    I hope this helps.

    Adrian Snook
    Institute of IT Training

  4. Please try harder
    Thanks Adrian,
    No I didn’t mention my field because in my humble opinion it shouldn’t matter.
    Training is training, the principles underlying training and professional qualifications themselves should be transferrable.
    I dont understand why any individual discipline should seek to position itself differently, all that is different is the knowledge not the skills.
    My entire question asked WHY should I join?
    A referral without any benefits isn’t good enough I’m afraid.

  5. Professional Memberships
    I wonder how many people in our profession continue to subscribe to these bodies because of the actual value they receive? Or is it just that such membership is somehow expected? For myself, I have to say I am with Groucho Marx: ‘I don’t care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members’, and am highly suspicious of groups of the like-minded.


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