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Yes, Prime Ministers

David Shilston

Geoscientist 17.6 June 2007

David Shilston (Secretary, professional matters) takes two Prime Ministers at their word…

In these changing political times I place before you two well known statements by former (or nearly former) prime ministers, one of recent memory: “education, education and education”; and the other not so recent: “Give us the tools and we will finish the job”. Although made in utterly different contexts, both can illustrate the scientific and professional activities that the Society seeks to provide for our Fellows and the community at large. Two such endeavours are starting to bear fruit.

Our scheme for endorsing CPD courses has been running for about a year now. It replaced an earlier scheme that had fallen by the wayside, and I am very pleased that the new scheme has got off to a good start. It has a number of objectives: to raise the profile of continuing professional development within the working lives of geologists and geoscientists, and to allow the Society to monitor and evaluate courses offered to our Fellows. In return, endorsement provides an effective source of direct marketing for providers - free advertising on our website and listings in Geoscientist and use of the Endorsed Training/CPD logo on marketing materials.

Since its launch, the new CPD Course Endorsement Scheme has received 43 applications from 15 organisations - training companies; Society regional and specialist groups; academic and research bodies, and commercial organisations. So far, we have endorsed 39 courses. Most were training courses in the strict sense, but a few were seminars and conferences. We want to increase the scheme’s reach. The application process has been made very simple and further details and forms are available from the Professional Training & Development page of

Council’s recently completed Strategy Review gives us a ‘high level’ statement of what the Society wants to do and how it intends to do it. Within the Professional Committee, the review has provided the context for a re-assessment of our Chartership designations and how they might be developed in the future. It is clear that the Chartership is valued to markedly different extents within the various sectors in which geologists and geoscientists work – from UK quarrying where Chartership is essential, to the oil & gas industry and academia where it is not (as yet) in great demand by either employers or regulators. This was well known, of course, but having reviewed and recognised the situation we can draw up plans for developing Chartership that are suited to the particular needs of each sector.

We are currently conducting a review of the Regulations under which the Society’s Chartership procedures operate. We need to update them to reflect changes in the law (e.g. age discrimination) and changes in the training and work that our fellows are now undertaking. We also need to look at the guidance that we provide to those seeking validation as a Chartered Fellow.

This is a complex business as there are so many factors to consider. The Professional Committee would be very pleased to receive comments from fellows who are currently preparing their Chartership applications or who have done so in the past few years. Our scrutineers, who examine the applications in details and carry out the Professional Interviews, are also an important part of the process and we need to learn of their experiences and thoughts as well.

So please write to us with your comments and thoughts.