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Advice


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Broad


placed on people across a wide range of jobs, trades and vocations being professional because with this comes both gravitas and status. Today, and probably more so than ever before, the focus is increasingly on L&D being seen as a profession and those in it as professionals. The cries ring out: “The role of L&D needs to change”, “The L&D function must change”. The traditional image of L&D people as just face- to-face, classroom-based trainers is regarded by many as so last century and not in keeping with the needs of organisations in this, and coming, decades. In many quarters, a good deal of ‘trainer-bashing’ is taking place, a high proportion of which is for valid reasons, as an increasing number of people now see training to have a limited place and value in the great scheme of things. Right across the board, L&D functions are constantly being pressurised to undertake a complete make-over in terms of image, role, impact and value. Such pressure can be very


N


otwithstanding the origins of the word ‘profession’ (ie. the world’s oldest one!), considerable emphasis has always been


shoulders


Judith Christian-Carter on L&D professionals and importance of receiving support


scary stuff leading to resentment, despondency, frustration, denial and, in some cases, downright panic. There is also a commensurate effect on those who earn their living supplying training to organisations, either with or without L&D functions. However, the pressure for change doesn’t


end here, as it is also being felt in Higher and Further Education, where the increasing use of technology and a need to invert traditional learning models is gathering apace. For those L&D people who are working in or supplying these sectors, the current state of affairs is also equally challenging and potentially unsettling as it is for L&D professionals elsewhere. So how do all these people obtain the


professional support they need, particularly in these changing and financially-constrained times? Working in large teams can certainly be beneficial in this regard but, equally, it can also lead to inertia and stagnation. For very small teams and individuals alike, finding appropriate professional support can be very much a hit- and-miss affair, leading many to feel isolated and outside the profession instead of being an important cog within it. No small wonder, then, that so many L&D people today are looking for support, enlightenment and comradeship; in a ‘home’ where they can grow, change and


learn together and, in doing so, acquire the professional status they now desire and need. The British Institute for Learning and Development (BILD) exists specifically for this purpose: to provide a much needed coherence to a profession that operates in a number of different sectors but which are all facing many similar challenges. It is a membership organisation - both individual L&D professionals, L&D departments and L&D suppliers can apply for membership. Professional membership grades are awarded on the basis of a combination of L&D experience and L&D qualifications. The BILD is a registered charity and is run by its members through an elected board of trustees. The directors/trustees work in a completely honorary capacity, serving their time in office to provide some ‘pay-back’ to the L&D profession. So, if you are looking for a professional L&D home, check out how the BILD can help and support you. n


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Judith Christian-Carter Director at The British Insitute of Learning and Development


Learning Magazine Learning Magazine


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