Chartered Institute
of Linguists

A new pathway to membership

Jane Galbraith previews CIOL's new membership pathway and the plans to grow CIOL membership.

Membership pathway

CIOL's membership model has served it well for many years, offering students and language professionals a range of entry points depending on qualifications and experience. With the strategic aim to grow membership significantly, CIOL has carried out a rigorous 10-month review of this model and its ability to cater for all linguists, whatever the stage of their career. The aim was to create a flexible membership pathway which would:

  • Support aspiring linguists and linguists who are just starting their career
  • Support language learners and linguists preparing for and undertaking IoLET professional qualifications
  • Link membership more closely with Chartered Linguist (CL) registration
  • Encourage upgrades and CL registration
  • Improve annual retention rates
  • Provide logical and coherent progression routes, with appropriate benefits for each membership grade, to support all language professionals throughout their careers.

The current membership model caters well for the professional linguist through its three
professional grades: Associate, Member and Fellow. It was acknowledged, however, that the new pathway needed to encourage pre-professional linguists to apply.

The pre-professional grades

The new structure builds on and extends the current model. We have introduced three pre-professional grades aimed at linguists studying an appropriate language qualification, newly qualified linguists and linguists with limited work experience:

Student Affiliate. Replaces the Registered Student grade and is intended for anyone who is engaged in, or will shortly be engaged in, a course of study in a language or language combined with another subject. All Student Affiliates will be invited to upgrade on completion of their qualification. Registered Student members will be moved to the Student Affiliate grade upon renewal.

Study Affiliate. For candidates who are preparing for and/or intending to register for an IoLET professional examination and are not already CIOL members. On completion of their qualification, all IoLET Affiliates will be invited to upgrade to the next appropriate grade of membership, which could be Affiliate, Associate or full Member.

Affiliate. Open to anyone considering a career using their foreign language skills, and language practitioners who have limited experience and do not yet meet the entry criteria for Associate member. All Affiliates will be invited to upgrade to Associate once they have the requisite work experience and/or qualifications.

Link to chartership

A key objective of the new membership pathway is to align Chartered Linguist (CL) registration more closely with CIOL membership. This has been achieved by removing the prerequisite of being a Member or Fellow for at least two years. All other aspects of the CL admissions criteria apply but new applicants for membership now have the opportunity to achieve chartership when they apply for CIOL membership.

Next steps

Council members Tom Gale MCIL, Chair of the Applications Committee Judith Ridgway FCIL, Chair of the Chartered Linguist Admissions Committee Karen Stokes FCIL and I formed a small steering group, which proposed the entry criteria for the pre-professional grades of membership and made recommendations to ensure that the entry criteria for the professional grades remain fit-for-purpose. The new admissions policy, approved by Council on 30 June, will come into effect, along with the new grades of membership, on 1 September 2016. This will not affect your current membership and will only apply to admissions and upgrades from 1 September.

The team at Dunstan House is now working on the implementation plan, which will include communication and marketing activity to raise awareness of the new membership pathway.

Members will be kept informed of progress through the new monthly Members' Update email, and the CIOL website. Please email us if you have any comments, questions or feedback.

Jane Galbraith is CIOL Head of Membership

This article appeared in The Linguist 55,2