CILIP PORTFOLIO BUILDING WORKSHOP: 7th JANUARY 2015

 

This was – as the title suggests – a workshop to assist CILIP Professional Registration candidates collect the appropriate evidence toward a submission portfolio at all three levels: Certification, Chartership and Fellowship (and Revalidation where relevant). Here is a quick overview of how the evening progressed:

  • Introductions from Mark Naylor and Maureen Pinder of the CILIP Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Member Network (CILIP Y&H RMN). Mark is the Candidate Support Officer for the region and Maureen is the Mentor Support Officer.
  • Mark took us through the Professional Registration process in some detail. This included the differences between the three levels and how to decide which is the most suitable for each individual candidate to purse; the importance of selecting the correct Mentor; how to utilise the Professional Skills and Knowledge Base contextually; what counts as evidence and how to collect it; tips on reflective and evaluative writing; and ways of gaining help and support through the process – including directions to the relevant handbooks.
  • Interspersed within Mark’s presentation were some exercises for attendees to complete, including tasks on reflective writing and identifying appropriate examples of evidence
  • Maureen next spoke about the Mentoring process in more detail, telling us a little bit about the process from the point of view of the Mentor – what they get out of the relationship and how they can assist candidates meet the need for experience of a wide variety of different library services. The need for honest communication – even if that means breaking off the mentor-mentee relationship – was considered key.
  • Finally, a recently successful Chartership candidate spoke about her experience of navigating the Professional Registration process

EVALUATION

I attended the event with a few different motives. While I had successfully completed the Certification level of Professional Registration in July 2014 and have had vague thoughts ever since about proceeding to the Chartership level, I had not yet looked into the requirements for that higher level in any great detail and so could not say that I was yet a prospective candidate. Consequently, the process seemed cloudy and unfocused in my mind; in particular, I was very unclear on how exactly the Certification and Chartership levels differed. I hoped to, at the very least, clarify this point by attending the workshop.

My attendance was, from that perspective, mainly a “fishing” exercise – an attempt to see a little way into the Chartership process without having to fully wade in the water itself. From that angle the event brought mixed emotions. Although I raised the issue with other candidates, I was still unable to achieve full clarity about the core differences between the Certification portfolio I submitted 12-months ago and the Chartership portfolio I hope to submit in another 12-18 months. When I enquired with Mark he seemed to imply that the nature of evidence collected was not the issue (I had assumed it would be – i.e. that Chartership candidates would have to demonstrate their accomplishments at tasks broadly defined as “librarian” roles) but that the important stress was laid by examiners on the way you reflect on that evidence.

This seemed reasonably clear – but then I recalled that the guidelines for the Certification portfolio were almost exactly the same as Mark was outlining for the Chartership; that is, I was heavily directed toward the evaluation of my evidence, rather than simple descriptions of the same. Despite continuing the discussion with both Mark and Maureen, and viewing some sample portfolios that were available to examine, I left feeling that I needed to explore the issue in more detail before beginning the Chartership process.

On the positive side of the ledger, however, I now feel – having attended the workshop – that there is a strong support network for candidates in the region and that any further questions of this nature that I may have would be answered by approaching people like Mark and Maureen. This was in contrast to the Certification portfolio – while my Mentor was fantastic and extremely helpful, there were still occasions when I needed guidance about specific technical issues from CILIP themselves; at that time the organisation seemed hopelessly distant and remote, given that there was not then representation in the region.

This partly explains my other motivation for attending the workshop: solidarity for the recently-reformed CILIP Y&H RMN’s efforts in putting an event of this nature on after a long period of dormancy and absence in the region.

This show of support was partly objective (there is no point complaining about the lack of events like this one if you then don’t make the effort attend – though I recognise that the event was not necessarily of interest to all local members) and partly rooted in a subjective sense of professional obligation – I am myself, alongside Mark and Maureen and others, a member of the Y&H RMN committee. Consequently, I felt it important that at least some committee members – specifically anyone, like me, who was even vaguely considering Professional Registration – were visible to others in the region, another step toward solidifying a currently embryonic sense of sector community.

From that point-of-view the event was a success and I am very glad I attended; I already recognised a few faces from previous events (including the Library Camp in August) and was, presumably, recognised in turn – especially useful when I was pinpointed by Maureen as a committee member (and specifically one who has agreed to undertake training to become a Mentor!). While there is a certain amount of personal pride that can be taken from being identified in such a way to a room of sector professionals, my main pleasure was derived from the realisation that those colleagues around the region can now start to put faces to the names of their local professional body; making that body seem less distant and anonymous and now more human and approachable. Those working in the sector need that sense of community and communal support now more than ever before: “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately

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