‘Establishing standards is long overdue or we are going nowhere as an industry.’ Unfortunately this is not being stated by the conference industry. There are so many long and short courses that provide all the theory and degrees while a multitude of colleges and training companies do likewise. Armed with their certificates plus overdraft and in other instances cap & gown together with the photo for the mantle-piece – these enthusiastic individuals descend into their respective industry sectors via a range of recruitment options and the lucky ones that get the job from a short list commence their careers.What happens thereafter over the next few years is building up experience together with the good and at times questionable methods inherent out there. As time goes by the seasoned ‘practitioner’ develops a blurred vision between the right and not-so-right method of getting the job done. It has been brought to the MICE Academy’s attention that there are professional sectors that are looking seriously in ensuring that standards are set for their particular profession. This is both a bold and enterprising undertaking as it means formulating the foundation in a manner that will influence the entire profession to ‘buy-in’ to at least credible minimum standards. The accreditation article published in the May/June edition of the MeetingsSA magazine has proven 100% accurate as professions start the first run of the ladder in lifting the bar.
To quote the chairman of a prominent member association – who are embarking on this most enterprising venture – ‘Without a national set of standards, all current efforts at benchmarking and benchmarks are meaningless’.Below are their roll-out criteria for all member associations that want to do it right: *Committees (Forums) for each of the profession’s sectors were formed – with industry practitioners – from across the spectrum not just members; *From these committees which have provided their feed-back – the next 3 phases will focus on: (1) the development of the standards (2) sharing the draft standards with the public and broad sector community for comments & inputs (3) highlights of the project when the standards will be released following the first standards conference scheduled to take place in the next two months. It certainly is a case of watch this space for true exciting developments in professional standards within South Africa.