“Directorship used to be a title that a person would tag after his or her name having reached the pinnacle of his or her chosen career, it wasn’t a self-standing profession,” the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa (IoDSA) chief executive officer Ansie Ramalho told CNBC Africa on Wednesday.

“With the emergence of corporate governance and the importance of the role of the non-executive director over the last 20 years, we have found that directorship has indeed become a profession that stands on its own. Some people want to pursue it for its own merits and not necessarily tag it on to another profession.”

The role of chartered director will not become a qualification but rather a designation given to candidates that successfully complete the designation process, which the IoDSA has launched as a means to improve the calibre and integrity of the directorship role in the country’s business and financial sector.

“What we’re saying is that being a director is as simple as going through a programme, getting a degree, then you’re ready to be a director. There are certain experience requirements that need to be added to that and that’s why we’re saying we need a designation rather than a qualification,” Ramalho explained.

Requirements of the first phase of chartered director application include being over 30 years old, having held a directorship position for at least 3 years and hold an NQF registered qualification at an NQF level 7 or higher. There are a total of four phases.

“We’ve developed a competency framework in which we have all the competencies set out that you must adhere to become an effective director and the applicants need to map their own experiences and qualifications to that competency framework. It’s not an easy framework that sets the bar very low and we believe it’s right, to protect the integrity of the profession,” said Ramalho.

Once an applicant has successfully mapped their experiences and qualifications to the competency framework, they will then complete an examination and a peer interview thereafter, where inconsistencies in the first phase of their application can be addressed and finalised.

Obtaining the designation is currently a voluntary, with a number of companies and boards having already applied to be a part of it. The Johannesburg Stock Exchange has also expressed support for the designation.

Full information on the chartered director designation can be found on the IoDSA website.