Interview with Alberto Stival, President pr suisse (Swiss Public Relations Association)


I know the personal certificates very well. Last year, for example, I myself had the opportunity to obtain the SAQ certification for board members, which was an enrichment and a very positive experience for me.

The newly elected pr suisse president is committed to personal certification in the communications industry.

Why did the PR professional association pr suisse decide to introduce this certification?

As an association, we see this as an opportunity to enhance the value of our sector and the professions involved, while at the same time giving our members the opportunity to have their skills certified. We live in the age of communication, which itself is based on information. Therefore, our activities as communication experts are extremely important and it is imperative that we demonstrate a high level of professionalism. The fact is that the complexity of the communication professions is often underestimated. A quality standard, such as ISO certification for communication consultants, for example, should make for greater transparency.

The communication sector already has the federal diploma for its specialists. Why do we need an additional certificate in this area?

The federal examinations - i.e. the higher professional examination for experienced and seasoned communication specialists as well as the professional examination for younger specialists - attest to theoretical and practical knowledge and have always met with a positive response in the market. From 2022 onwards, the higher professional examination will take on a new look: it will be merged with the Communication Switzerland examination (ks/cs), with new examination regulations and guidelines, and will be adapted to developments in the industry. Both continuing education programmes lead to federal qualifications. The SAQ certification, on the other hand, attests to personal consulting skills of the highest level. The certification of individuals is therefore not the certification of continuing education, but of a personal ability to implement learning, practice and experience quickly and effectively. The application file consists of the qualifications awarded on completion of the training and further training courses and the candidate's professional curriculum vitae. Admission is calculated according to a point system and recertification every five years is compulsory.

What is your personal relationship with the SAQ's certificates of qualification?

I am very familiar with certificates of persons. In fact, I myself had the opportunity last year to obtain SAQ certification for members of the Board of Directors, which was an enrichment and a very positive experience for me. Over the past few years, I have also been able to assist many banks in implementing the certification of their customer advisors. What I particularly appreciate about these ISO certifications is the durability of the title: regular recertification measures require that you are always "Up to Date". They therefore also attest that the holder still has current skills, which is a significant difference from traditional channels.

Overall, what is the cost/benefit ratio of obtaining a certificate?

It is a very fair trade-off. Take PR certification as an example: a person who has been working in the sector for a long time and meets the requirements mentioned above should be able to pass the exam without much investment. The diploma obtained, which is also internationally recognised thanks to the ISO standard on which it is based, gives the holder senior expert status and thus contributes to his or her employability. /end

Alberto Stival

pr suisse President Alberto Stival was born in Biel/Bienne and grew up in the Seeland. He completed his bilingual economic studies at the University of Fribourg and has been working for twenty years, mainly in the Swiss financial sector, in the fields of education and communication. Since 2019, he has been running his own consultancy firm and is Senior Advisor for Educational Development at Swissbanking and Director PR & Communication at Swiss Sustainable Finance.

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