Byline: Mandy James
DISCUSSIONS often arise about what actually distinguishes a professional person from the rest of the workforce.
In many occupations the distinction is clear. Doctors, lawyers, teachers or social workers, for example, are fully acknowledged as professionals in their fields. In order to practise, they need specific skills and qualifications and without these it is unlawful for them to undertake this work.
A similar "licence-to-practice" is required in other occupations where health and safety or consumer protection are major issues, for example gas engineers or financial advisers.
But across a great swathe of the workforce, a person's ability to work in a particular field is dictated only by the willingness of an employer to recruit that individual or, in the …