MEPRA launches new Academy for region’s public relations industry
Posted on September 19, 2017

The Middle East Public Relations Association has joined forces with the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) to create an internationally-recognised professional accreditation and training programme, which is expected to raise the industry’s standards in the region and boost the career prospects of public relations professionals.

MEPRA is the leading industry body for public relations and communications professionals in the Middle East. CIPR, which is headquartered in London, is one of the largest membership organisations for public relations practitioners in the world. The partnership with MEPRA is CIPR’s first with any industry body worldwide.

Research by MEPRA has shown that more than 75 per cent of public relations professionals in the Middle East believe that internationally-recognised professional accreditation is important, but fewer than half have any professional accreditation or academic qualification in public relations. Now, MEPRA has invested in a new training curriculum and partnership with CIPR to enable a high standard of professional development opportunities in the region.

Ray Eglington, Chairman of MEPRA and Group Managing Director at Four Communications Group, said: “We know through our research that continued learning and internationally-recognised professional accreditation is critically important to regional public relations practitioners. We have developed the new MEPRA Academy and our partnership with CIPR to answer this need, helping individuals develop their careers and our industry to raise its standards.

“Public relations continues to move at a rapid pace as the media landscape evolves and new communication tools and channels are introduced. As public relations professionals ourselves, we know that we all need to take a proactive approach to develop the skills we need to stay on top of our game.”

CIPR will provide exclusive access to MEPRA members to its continuing professional development (CPD) online portal. This portal includes over 1,200 learning activities including best practice and skills guides and webinars on-demand.

To support the new accreditation and CPD framework, MEPRA has developed a new training programme which begins this month.  The MEPRA Academy curriculum includes face-to-face courses on subjects from social media strategy and video production to thought leadership campaigning and communications department leadership.

MEPRA Academy courses will be led by international experts and CIPR certified senior communications professionals. In the first year, training sessions will take place in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan.

Participants in the face-to-face MEPRA Academy and CIPR online courses will receive credits towards the different levels of professional accreditation from CIPR, which are globally-recognised certifications of professional competence. The portal also enables practitioners to track their progress towards the various levels of professional accreditation.

Commenting on its partnership with MEPRA, Alastair McCapra, Chief Executive, Chartered Institute of Public Relations said: “Collaboration between Europe’s and the Middle East’s leading respective professional bodies marks a significant step forward for global public relations practice. Though CIPR and MEPRA members operate in different parts of the world, they are united by common challenges and an ambition to deliver greater value for clients and organisations.“

“Public relations practitioners have a duty to ensure their skills and knowledge reflect the highest standards of practice. Continuing professional development equips practitioners with the tools to meet the day-to-day challenges they face. As a result of our agreement, MEPRA members will benefit from a wealth of continuing professional development resources, enabling them to deliver greater standards of service to businesses across the world.”

Eglington added: “MEPRA’s training courses are face-to-face to provide a hands-on, interactive experience that practically builds a practitioner’s capabilities while also providing the opportunity to network with industry peers. Our aim is for every participant to walk away from each course with practical new skills that improve the way they work.

“MEPRA’s unique collaboration with CIPR is a significant milestone, which provides major benefits to our members at any stage of their career. We hope this new program and partnership allows public relations practitioners to grow together and help evolve our profession in the Middle East.”