Professional development and the recently qualified information and library studies professional: factors affecting success in attainment of the UK Library Association's Associate status.
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This paper describes a project funded by the UK Library Association (LA) which sought to investigate factors impacting upon length of time taken to achieve Associateship of the Library Association and to gather attitudinal data as to the benefits of Associateship, barriers to successful completion and continuing professional development (CPD). Data was gathered via a postal questionnaire (38.3% response rate) and telephone interviews with not yet complete and withdrawn candidates. The respondent group reflected a representative sample of the research target, coming from a range of employment sectors. Results suggested that significant factors included: conflicting pressures, lack of time, loss of interest and poor supervision. Those candidates still to submit or who had withdrawn tended to have received less support from employers. Associateship was seen as advantageous largely in that it conferred chartered status and professional recognition: fewer respondents felt that it had, or was likely to, lead to an enhanced career, a salary increase or prestige. The majority of respondents were interested in their personal continuing professional development (93.5%), reading professional literature as part of their CPD (85%), while between a half and two thirds attended external seminars/courses, networked with colleagues and engaged in internal training activities. A slight majority (54.2%) felt that CPD should not be compulsory: some suggested a system of reward rather than a compulsory approach should be preferred.