From education to employment

IfL publishes its first member survey

The Institute for Learning (IfL) has published its first member survey to learn more about how members viewed its progress, and develop an understanding of what they valued and their requirements.

Almost 6,500 members completed the survey during summer 2008, however it was revealed that most had not been with the IfL for long enough to benefit from their membership. This was reflected in figures that showed many members did not seem to be well informed about the benefits to which they were entilted.

Toni Fazaeli, IfL’s chief executive, said: “Listening and responding to members is at the heart of our work, and these findings will help us build on our successes, develop membership benefits, refine our communications with members and improve the way we work. Some have suggested it is courageous to ask for members’ views so early in their membership and to make the findings public. I agree.

“IfL is, and should be, bold on behalf of its members. As a member-led body, we are determined to listen to members so that we understand and can respond to the needs of the professional teachers, trainers and assessors who serve some five million learners across the further education and skills sector.

“The survey findings are already informing our policy and advisory work, and feeding into our five-year strategic plan. We will carry out regular surveys to help build our understanding of the views of practitioners, and measure our progress as their professional body.

“We have grown very quickly as an organisation, and this survey has highlighted aspects of our service that clearly need further work. We take members’ feedback seriously and have already started making improvements in a number of areas. Examples include improved telephone and helpline services and more training for members in the use of REfLECT, our online personal space for planning and reflecting on professional development.”

When asked about their main reason for joining the professional body for teachers, tutors, trainers and student teachers in the learning and skills sector, nearly half of respondents chose ’employer requirement’ from the list of options offered. Government regulations accounted for 28 per cent, professional status 13 per cent and professional development eight per cent. However, a much higher proportion of respondents cited professional status, professional development, membership benefits and networking opportunities as contributory factors when asked about other factors that influenced their decision to register.

Ms Fazaeli continued: “We can already see signs that members are moving from feeling they had to join to seeing the potential benefits of having their own professional body and getting valued services. We want to offer more benefits that members value; we want to help raise the status of teachers and trainers across FE and skills; and we want their voice to influence policy.

“I have just returned from a series of café discussions with members around the country, who confirmed their real commitment to having a professional body with universal membership of practitioners across FE and skills. There is a growing sense of pride in their profession, the FE sector, and being a member of IfL.”

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