Pro-Am (The Professional Amateur)

Pro-Am (The Professional Amateur)

I am a volunteer within St. John Ambulance. Whilst we have a number of members that work in the health care profession, most of our members do not. To be a first aider does however require holding and renewing a first aid qualification. Many of the members also go much further including qualifications in medical gas; AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators); and ambulance qualifications.

The term amateur is, unfortunately, often used in a derogatory way. A new term is needed for those that are required to act an a professional way, but are volunteers. Charles Leadbeater and Paul Miller describe the term pro-am which fits quite nicely for the role that many of our volunteers perform.
Amateurs with professional standards

Pro-Ams are not professionals. They do not see themselves that way. They do not earn more than 50 per cent of their income from their Pro-Am activities. They might be aspiring proto-professionals,
semiprofessionals or former-professionals, but they would not be regarded as full professionals. Yet to call Pro-Ams amateurs is also misleading. For many people “amateur” is a term of derision: second-rate, not up to scratch, below par. Pro-Ams want to be judged by professional standards. Many of the defining features of professionalism also apply to Pro-Ams: they have a strong sense of vocation; they use recognised public standards to assess performance and formally validate skills; they form self-regulating communities, which provide people with a sense of community and belonging; they produce non-commodity products and services; they are well versed in a body of knowledge and skill, which carries with it a sense of tradition and identity. Pro-Ams often have second, shadow or parallel careers that they turn to once their formal and public career comes to an end. Professionals are distinguished by the nature of their knowledge. Professionals are more likely to understand the theory behind good practice, while Pro-Ams might have strong know-how and technique.
More Information

You can read the book online at:
Pro-Am economy