Valerie Everitt examines how the BIFM is making a valuable contribution in shaping policy and promoting the profession.
11 March 2010
In January this year, the government published Unleashing Aspirations, its official response to the final report for the panel on Fair Access to the Professions. The panel, chaired by Alan Milburn MP, had challenged the government to do more to ensure that people with ability, creativity and talent could succeed in the professions regardless of their social and economic background. It called for reform in schools, higher education and the professions.
The response contains a commitment to promoting aspiration and putting social mobility at the heart of plans for growth and success in the global economy. Nearly all of the panel's 88 recommendations have been accepted.
At this stage in the parliamentary calendar, there could be scope for cynicism but the good news is that the initiative has received tripartite support in the House of Commons and the momentum to move things forward is already happening with the establishment of the Gateways to the Professions Collaborative Forum. Chaired by David Lammy, minister for higher education, the forum will advise on the Milburn panel' s recommendations and how they can be implemented. Panel members will agree and promote focused solutions to address issues and barriers, sharing work already underway to improve access into each of the professional areas.
With professionalisation and inclusivity at the core of its medium term strategy, the BIFM is delighted to have been invited to join the 60 key professions participating in the forum. Entry and progression routes, vocational qualifications, opening up mid career opportunities and apprenticeship frameworks are all on the agenda. As the institute has its own initiatives or involvement in these important areas, we are pleased to make a contribution to shaping policy and finding solutions. It will also be an opportunity to draw on the knowledge and expertise of other professional bodies. Collectively and individually we can seek new ways of breaking down barriers and attracting the best of talent to our sectors.
The BIFM is also supporting the new Professional Body Career Portal, initiated by the Professional Associations Research Network (Parn) and Ashridge Communication. This has four key aims - inspiring entry to the professions, resource for career choice, widening access and developing clear pathways to the professions.
For more information, please visit www.dius.gov.uk (search Gateways to the Professions) and www.totalprofessions.com.