At Axia Digital we’re proud of our long association with the Institute of Chartered Foresters. ICF is the leading professional body for foresters and arboriculturists in the UK. They’re the only UK body to offer Chartered Forester and Chartered Arboriculturist titles.
The Institute has more than 2,200 members who practice forestry, arboriculture and related disciplines in the private sector, central and local government, non-government organisations, charities and universities and colleges. They provide platforms for professional learning and collaboration on the latest research, news and issues facing the sector. The Institute works with both industry and higher education establishments to promote forestry and arboricultural career paths to young people, in order to ensure the continued growth of this dynamic sector.
ICF regulates standards of entry to the profession, provides support to members, guidance to professionals in other sectors and information to the general public. They also offer educational advice and training to both students and tree professionals seeking to develop their careers in the forestry and arboricultural sector.
Dr Stuart Glen, Member Services Director at the Institute of Chartered Foresters said:
“The fact that the Institute of Chartered Foresters have partnered with Axia Digital for more than a decade would demonstrate the strength of the relationship. The team at Axia Digital are agile, innovative and responsive in the ongoing development of our Members’ Area infrastructure to ensure our processes are robust, efficient and, above all, user friendly.”
Axia Digital worked closely with ICF to design a user-friendly Members’ Area portal. This platform gives access to a host of features which help users to make the most of their membership and manage their relationship with the Institute.
The portal is where members can pay their subscription fees and update their details. It’s also the place where members record their Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activities, which is required for all practicing chartered members.
CPD can take different forms, such as professional work-based activities, personal and informal learning, courses, seminars and conferences and voluntary or charity work.
One of the features of the portal is the Library, which contains an extensive set of resources to support members’ professional development and keep them informed about the work of the institute. The Library houses more than 200 hours of recorded CPD content for members to undertake at a time that is convenient to them.
To help members grow their network, they can also find contact details for other members in the Member List.
An ongoing commitment to self-development is a fundamental requirement of ICF membership. For this to be assessed, members are required to maintain up-to-date CPD records. At Axia Digital, we spent time designing a portal that is easy to navigate and provides a comprehensive and responsive record of ongoing training and development. Members log in to the Members’ Area using their membership number and password. By clicking on the ‘My CPD’ tab they can access their CPD records and input new entries.
Members are encouraged to not just see CPD as ‘clocking hours’. They are asked to consider the following principles in their approach to professional development: Reflection, Planning, Action and Evaluation. They are also advised to remember that learning can occur unexpectedly through experience. A wide range of activities qualify as CPD; from formal training courses to unstructured learning, such as reading or private research. The Institute of Chartered Foresters look for evidence of diversity in CPD activities and in how the learning outcomes have been employed in a member’s work.
The Institute’s Professional & Educational Standards Committee annually monitors CPD records for all practicing chartered members. Practicing chartered members must provide evidence of compliance with their CPD obligations on request.
Associate membership is open to those who have successfully completed an appropriate course of study, as they work to gain the professional experience required to attain chartered status. They have access to the Members’ Area, featuring 200+ hours of online CPD content and full access to journal archives. They can also use the online CPD tracker to monitor their personal and professional development. Associate members working towards gaining chartered status through Professional Membership Entry (PME) can use the PME area of the portal to build their submission.
PME is the standard route to obtaining chartered status for Associate members of the institute. It is part of the assessment process, which includes a two-year CPD record demonstrating a commitment to personal and professional development.
ICF requires a commitment to CPD from all of their practising Chartered Members, as well as Associate members embarking on the PME process. As a condition of membership, practising Fellows and Professional members are obliged to undertake and record a minimum of 100 hours of CPD in every three-year period; Associate members presenting for PME are obliged to undertake, and record a minimum of 66 hours of CPD in every two-year period.
As part of the PME assessment process, members are required to submit a two-year work record demonstrating professional competency, a two-year CPD record and a career profile (extended CV). They also required to produce a ‘Critical Analysis’ – a 3,000-3,500 word critique of a challenging situation faced at work, with particular emphasis on professional conduct and professional lessons learned. For the work record, members are required to allocate a verifier for each work record block and the nominated professional will then be notified by email, and asked to view the evidence and approve it, where appropriate. Members are able to submit these four elements in the portal via the ‘Check PME Validation’ button, once they have fulfilled the requirements of the online submission.