Professional qualifications in the United Kingdom

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Professional qualifications in the United Kingdom are titles or awards granted by professional bodies.[1] Many British professional qualifications are subject to the European directives on professional qualifications.[1] Most, but not all, professional qualifications are 'Chartered' qualifications, and follow on from having been admitted to a degree (or having an equivalent qualification). The term "professional qualification" can also be used to refer to higher-level vocational qualifications in "professional" roles.[2][3]

Regulation and levels[edit]

There are four forms of regulated profession in the UK, with respect to the European directives on professional qualifications: professions regulated by law or public authority; professions regulated by professional bodies incorporated by royal charter; professions regulated under Regulation 35; and the seven sectoral professions with harmonised training requirements across the European Union.[4] The European directives are given force of law in the UK via regulations issued by the Secretary of State under the European Communities Act 1972; the most recent regulations are The European Union (Recognition of Professional Qualifications) Regulations 2015.[5]

The Gatsby Charitable Foundation has been supporting the development of professional qualifications for technicians, such as the Science Council's Registered Science Technician (RSciTech), the Engineering Council's Engineering Technician (EngTech) and ICT Technician (ICTTech), and the British Computer Society's Registered IT Technician (RITTech).[6] Analysis by the Foundation identifies three levels of professional qualification on a "registration ladder" in science and engineering: technician registration, requiring Advanced Apprenticeships, A Levels, BTEC nationals, or similar awards at levels 3–4 on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (now replaced by the Regulated Qualifications Framework); intermediate qualifications such as Incorporated Engineer (IEng) and Registered Scientist (RSci) requiring Higher Apprenticeships, Higher National Diplomas, foundation degrees, bachelor's degrees, or similar awards at levels 5–6; and chartered statuses such as CEng, CSci, CPhys, CChem, etc. that require master's degrees or similar qualifications at level 7 or above.[7]

The European directives specify five levels of professional qualification in the general system, labelled a to e and approximately defined by their required academic training as:[8]

  1. Attestation of competence
  2. Education at secondary level
  3. Education for at least one year at post-secondary level
  4. Bachelor's degree
  5. Master's degree

On this scale, ICTTech, EngTech and other technician qualifications equate to level c, IEng equates to level d, and CEng, CSci, etc. elite to level e. It should be noted that while chartered statuses in science and engineering are placed at level e, in some fields chartered statuses, while remaining terminal professional qualifications in that field, are at level d (e.g. CMgr).[9]

Professional qualifications requiring an attestation of competence[edit]

These professions are government regulated and involve reserved activities rather than a reserved title. Some of these are devolved matters that are not uniformly regulated across the UK. In most cases, the competent authority for these is a government department or agency.

Generic title Profession Competent authority Region
Airport fire officer / airport firefighter Airport fire fighter[10] Civil Aviation Authority UK
Diver Diver[11] Health and Safety Executive, Offshore Policy Division UK
Driving instructor Approved driving instructor[12] Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency GB
Approved driving instructor department of environment for N.I.[13] Driver and Vehicle Testing Agency (NI) NI
Certified instructor (motor cycles) (in Great Britain)[14] Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency GB
Registered Gas Engineer Registered Gas Engineer[15] Capita Gas Registration and Ancillary Services Ltd UK
Road/Street Works professions Road/Street Works Supervisor[16] Street Works Qualifications Register England & Wales
Road/street works operative[17] Street Works Qualifications Register England & Wales
Security guard/Warden Cash & Valuables in Transit Operative[18] Security Industry Authority UK
Close Protection Operative[19] Security Industry Authority UK
Door Supervisor[20] Security Industry Authority UK
Public Surveillance Operative[21] Security Industry Authority UK
Security Guard[22] Security Industry Authority UK
Vehicle Immobiliser (Northern Ireland)[23] Security Industry Authority NI
Social worker Childminder[24] England OFSTED

Professional qualifications requiring education at secondary level[edit]

These professional qualifications are mostly, as in the previous category, government regulated with reserved activities, although some are through licensing of use of a reserved title.

Professions with reserved activities:

Generic title Profession Competent authority Region
Airport fire officer / airport firefighter Airport fire officer[25] Civil Aviation Authority UK
Mining electrician Mines electrician[26] Health and Safety Executive UK
Mining mechanic Mines mechanic[27] Health and Safety Executive UK

Professions with protected titles under a licensing system:

Generic title Profession Reserved titles Licensing body Region
Dental assistant/ Dental Nurse Dental Nurse[28] Dental nurse, dental surgery assistant General Dental Council UK

Professional qualifications requiring education for at least one year at post-secondary level[edit]

These qualifications now begin to include those which have protected titles without reserve of activities, normally granted by professional bodies under their royal charter rather than by statutory or regulatory bodies. Titles granted by professional bodies are often accompanied by postnominal letters.

Regulated by law or public authority[edit]

Professions with reserved activities or protected functions:

Generic title Profession Competent authority Region
Boatmaster Licensed boatmaster[29] Department for Transport UK
Chief engineer class I fishing vessel Chief engineer class 1 fishing vessel[30] Maritime & Coastguard Agency UK
Chief Engineer Class 2 - Fishing Vessels[31] Maritime & Coastguard Agency UK
Conveyancer Executry Practitioner[32] Law Society of Scotland Scotland
Qualified Conveyancer[33] Law Society of Scotland Scotland
Deck officer class I fishing vessel Deck Officer Class 1 - Fishing Vessels[34] Maritime & Coastguard Agency UK
Deck officer class II fishing vessel Deck Officer Class 2 Fishing Vessel[35] Maritime & Coastguard Agency UK
Deck officer class III fishing vessel Deck Officer Class 3 - Fishing Vessels[36] Maritime & Coastguard Agency UK
Insolvency practitioner Insolvency practitioner[37] Insolvency Service/Insolvency Service (NI) UK
Inspector of weights and measures Inspector of Weights & Measures in Northern Ireland[38] Department of Economic Development NI
Inspector of weights and measures[39] Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy GB
Lawyer/Barrister/Solicitor Costs Lawyer[40] Costs Lawyer Standards Board England & Wales
Mining engineer Mines electrical engineer[41] Health and Safety Executive UK
Mines mechanical engineer[42] Health and Safety Executive UK
Mining supervisor/deputy Mine deputy[43] Health and Safety Executive UK
Patent Agent / Trademark agent Registered Trademark Attorney[44] Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys UK
Registered trademark agent[45] Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys UK
Professions in the field of waste management and disposal Waste disposal manager (NI)[46] Waste Management Industry Training and Advisory Board NI
Second level nurse Nurse Admitted to Sub-Part 2 of the Register maintained by the Nursing & Midwifery Council[47] Nursing and Midwifery Council UK
Specialised teachers, not elsewhere classified Teacher in Further Education (England & Wales)[48] Wales Assembly Government/Institute for Learning England & Wales
Veterinary nurse Registered veterinary nurse[49] Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons UK

Professions with protected titles under a licensing system:

Generic title Profession Reserved titles Licensing body Region
Dental hygienist Dental hygienist[50] Dental hygienist General Dental Council UK
Dental technician Clinical dental technician[51] Clinical dental technician, clinical dental technologist, denturist General Dental Council UK
Dental Technician[52] Dental technician, dental technologist General Dental Council UK
Dental therapist Dental therapist[53] Dental therapist General Dental Council UK
Pharmaceutical technician/Pharmaceutical assistant Pharmacy technician[54] Pharmacy technician General Pharmaceutical Council GB

Professions with protected titles without reserve of activities:

Generic title Protected title Regulatory body Region
Conveyancer Licensed conveyancer[55] Council for Licensed Conveyancers UK
Dental therapist Orthodontic Therapist[56] General Dental Council UK

Regulated by professional bodies under royal charter[edit]

Professions with protected titles without reserve of activities:

Generic title Protected title Postnominal letters Professional body Region
Colourist Licentiate of the Society of Dyers and Colourists[57] LSDC Society of Dyers and Colourists UK
Dance teacher Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Dance[58] LRAD Royal Academy of Dance UK
Registered Teacher of the Royal Academy of Dance[59] RTRAD Royal Academy of Dance UK
Engineer Engineering technician[60] EngTech Engineering Council UK
ICT Technician[61] ICTTech Engineering Council UK
Marketing consultant Associate Member of The Chartered Institute of Marketing[62] ACIM Chartered Institute of Marketing UK
Meteorologist Registered Meteorologist[63] RMet Royal Meteorological Society UK
Surveyor Associate Member of Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors[64] ARICS Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors UK
Textile expert Licentiate of the Textile Institute[65] LTI Textile Institute UK

Professional qualifications requiring bachelor's degree level education[edit]

Many of these are protected titles without reserve of activities, regulated by professional bodies acting under a royal charter. This includes a large number of chartered statuses, which are terminal professional qualifications in that field.

Regulated by law or public authority[edit]

Professions with reserved activities:

Generic title Profession Competent authority Region
Actuary Actuary[66] Institute and Faculty of Actuaries UK
Headmaster/School Director Principal of a further education institution in England[67] Department for Education England
Mining manager Mine manager[68] Health and Safety Executive UK
Mining surveyor Mine surveyor[69] Health and Safety Executive UK
Nurse Nurses admitted to Sub-Part 1 of the Register maintained by the Nursing & Midwifery Council[70] Nursing and Midwifery Council UK
Patent Agent/Trademark agent Patent Attorney[71] Chartered Institute of Patent Agents UK
Primary school teacher School Teacher in State maintained schools (Primary)[72] National College for Teaching and Leadership/General Teaching Council for Scotland/General Teaching Council for Wales/General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland Wales
Secondary school teacher School teacher in State maintained schools (secondary)[73] National College for Teaching and Leadership/General Teaching Council for Scotland/General Teaching Council for Wales/General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland UK

Professions with reserved activities and protected titles:

Generic title Protected title Competent authority Region
Hearing aid dispenser Hearing aid dispenser[74] Health and Care Professions Council UK
Optician (Dispensing optician) Dispensing optician[75] General Optical Council UK

Professions with protected titles under a licensing system:

Generic title Protected title Licensing body Region
Social worker Social Worker[76] Care Council for Wales/Scottish Social Services Council/Northern Ireland Social Care Council Wales, Scotland and NI

Professions with protected titles without reserve of activities:

Generic title Protected title Regulatory body Region
Chiropodist (podiatrist) Chiropodist, Podiatrist[77] Health and Care Professions Council UK
Dietitian Dietitian[78] Health and Care Professions Council UK
Lawyer/Barrister/Solicitor Advocate[79] Faculty of Advocates Scotland
Medical/Biomedical laboratory technician Biomedical Scientist[80] Health and Care Professions Council UK
Occupational therapist Occupational therapist[81] Health and Care Professions Council UK
Orthoptist Orthoptist[82] Health and Care Professions Council UK
Paramedic Paramedic[83] Health and Care Professions Council UK
Physiotherapist Physiotherapist[84] Health and Care Professions Council UK
Prosthetist/Orthotist Prosthetist, Orthotist[85] Health and Care Professions Council UK
Radiographer Radiographer[86] Health and Care Professions Council UK
Social worker Social Worker[87] Health and Care Professions Council England
Speech and language therapist Speech and language therapist, Speech therapist[88] Health and Care Professions Council UK
Surgical assistant Operating Department Practitioner[89] Health and Care Professions Council UK

Regulated by professional bodies under royal charter[edit]

Professions with reserved activities and protected titles:

Generic title Protected title Postnominal letters Professional body Region
Environmental health officer Environmental Health Practitioner[90] Chartered Institute of Environmental Health MCIEH/FCIEH UK

Professions with protected titles without reserve of activities:

Generic title Protected title Postnominal letters Professional body Region
Accountant/Tax advisor Chartered Tax Advisor[91] CTA Chartered Institute of Taxation UK
Chartered Management Accountant[92] CIMA Chartered Institute of Management Accountants UK
Auditor/Accountant Chartered Certified Accountant[93] ACCA/FCCA Association of Chartered Certified Accountants UK
Chartered Accountant[94] ACA Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales/Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland UK
CA Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland
Banker Member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland (Chartered Banker)[95] MCIBS Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland GB
Member of the Institute of Financial Services[96] Aifs Institute of Financial Services UK
Biologist Chartered Biologist[97] CBiol Society of Biology UK
Building engineer Associate of the Chartered Institute of Building[98] ACIB Chartered Institute of Building UK
Chartered Builder[99] MCIOB Chartered Institute of Building UK
Building Surveyor Chartered Building Surveyor[100] MRICS/FRICS Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors UK
Chartered Secretary Chartered Secretary[101] ACIS Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators UK
Colourist Associateship of Society of Dyers and Colourists[102] ASDC Society of Dyers and Colourists UK
Chartered Colourist[103] CCol Society of Dyers and Colourists UK
Electrical and computer (technology) engineer Member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology[104] MIET Institution of Engineering and Technology UK
Engineer Incorporated Engineer[105] IEng Engineering Council UK
Environmental engineer Chartered Wastes Manager[106] MCIWM Chartered Institution of Wastes Management UK
Environmental health officer Environmental Health Officer[107] MCIEH/FCIEH Chartered Institute of Environmental Health England & Wales
Forest engineer Chartered Forester[108] MICFor/FICFor Institute of Chartered Foresters UK
Geographer Chartered Geographer[109] CGeog Royal Geographical Society UK
Health and Safety Officer Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner[110] CMIOSH/CFIOSH Institution of Occupational Safety and Health UK
Housing expert CIH Chartered Member[111] CIHCM Chartered Institute of Housing UK
Information systems engineer Chartered IT Professional[112] CITP British Computer Society UK
Insurance and reinsurance intermediaries Chartered Insurance Broker[113] ACII Chartered Insurance Institute UK
Chartered Insurance Practitioner[114] ACII Chartered Insurance Institute UK
Insurance underwriter Chartered Financial Planner[115] AFPS Chartered Insurance Institute UK
Chartered Insurer (insurance underwriting)[116] ACII Chartered Insurance Institute UK
Land Surveyor Chartered Land Surveyor[117] MRICS/FRICS Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors UK
Lawyer/Barrister/Solicitor Chartered Legal Executive[118] FCILEx Chartered Institute of Legal Executives UK
Librarian Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals[119] CILIP Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals UK
Loss adjuster Chartered Loss Adjuster[120] ACLA Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters UK
Manager (not elsewhere classified) Chartered Manager[121] CMgr Chartered Management Institute UK
Marketing consultant Chartered Marketer[122] CMktr Chartered Institute of Marketing UK
Member of The Chartered Institute of Marketing[123] MCIM Chartered Institute of Marketing UK
Mathematical applications expert Chartered Mathematician[124] CMath Institute of Mathematics and its Applications UK
Chartered Statistician[125] CStat Royal Statistical Society UK
Measurement and control technologist Chartered Measurement and Control Technologist[126] MInstMC Institute of Measurement and Control UK
Mechanical engineer Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers[127] MIMechE Institution of Mechanical Engineers UK
Meteorologist Chartered Meteorologist[128] CMet Royal Meteorological Society UK
Minerals surveyor Chartered Minerals Surveyor[129] MRICS/FRICS Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors UK
Mining and metallurgy expert Member of the Institute of Materials Minerals and Mining[130] MIMMM Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining UK
Public finance accountant Chartered Public finance accountant[131] CPFA Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy UK
Quantity surveyor Chartered Quantity Surveyor[132] MRICS/FRICS Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors UK
Shipbroker/Shipping Agent Chartered Shipbroker[133] FICS Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers UK
Surveyor Chartered Surveyor[134] MRICS/FRICS Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors UK
Textile expert Chartered Textile Technologist[135] CText Textile Institute UK
Town planner/Town and Country Planner Chartered Town Planner[136] MRTPI Royal Town Planning Institute UK
Valuation surveyor Chartered Valuation Surveyor[137] MRICS/FRICS Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors UK
Water service manager Chartered Water and Environment Manager[138] MCIWEM Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management UK

Professional qualifications requiring master's degree level education[edit]

Regulated by law or public authority[edit]

Professions with reserved activities and protected titles:

Generic title Protected title Competent authority Region
Lawyer/Barrister/Solicitor Barrister[139] General Council of the Bar England and Wales
Honourable Society of the Inn of Court of Northern Ireland Northern Ireland
Solicitor[140] Law Society of England and Wales England and Wales
Law Society of Scotland Scotland
Law Society of Northern Ireland Northern Ireland
Optometrist (ophthalmic optician) Optometrist (ophthalmic optician)[141] General Optical Council England and Wales

Professions with protected titles without reserve of activities:

Generic title Protected title Regulatory body Region
Arts therapist in the health service Art Psychotherapist, Art Therapist, Dramatherapist, Music Therapist[142] Health and Care Professions Council UK
Chiropractor Chiropractor[143] General Chiropractic Council UK
Medical physicist Clinical Scientist[144] Health and Care Professions Council UK
Osteopath Osteopath[145] General Osteopathic Council UK
Psychologist Practitioner psychologist[146] Health and Care Professions Council UK

Regulated under regulation 35[edit]

Professions with protected titles under a licensing system:

Generic title Profession Reserved titles Licensing body Region
Blacksmith, Farrier, Forging, Stamping, Pressing Farrier[147] Farrier Farriers Registration Council UK

Regulated by professional bodies under royal charter[edit]

Professions with reserved activities:

Generic title Profession Professional body Region
Chemist Analytical chemist[148] Royal Society of Chemistry UK

Professions with protected titles without reserve of activities:

Generic title Protected title Postnominal letters Professional body Region
Aeronautical engineer Member of Royal Aeronautical Society[149] MRAeS Royal Aeronautical Society UK
Architectural Technologist Chartered Architectural Technologist[150] MCIAT Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists UK
Building Engineer Chartered Building Services Engineer[151] MCIBSE Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers UK
Chemical Engineer Chartered Chemical Engineer[152] MIChemE Institution of Chemical Engineers UK
Chemist Chartered Chemist[153] CChem Royal Society of Chemistry UK
Civil Engineer Chartered Civil Engineer, Member of ICE[154] MICE Institution of Civil Engineers UK
Chartered Structural Engineer[155] MIStructE Institution of Structural Engineers UK
Chartered Scientist Chartered Scientist[156] CSci Science Council UK
Energy Engineer Chartered Energy Engineer[157] MEI/FEI Energy Institute UK
Engineer Chartered Engineer[158] CEng Engineering Council UK
Environmental health officer Chartered Environmental Health Officer[159] Ch EHO Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland UK
Environmental Health Officer[160] EHO Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland UK
Gas Engineer Chartered Gas Engineer[161] MIGEM Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers UK
Geologist Chartered Geologist[162] CGeol Geological Society UK
Landscape architect/designer Member of the Landscape Institute[163] CMLI Landscape Institute UK
Marine engineer Chartered Marine Engineer[164] CMarEng Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology UK
Naval architect Member of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects[165] MRINA Royal Institution of Naval Architects England
Petroleum industry - production and processing of fuels and lubricants Chartered Petroleum Engineer[166] MEI/FEI Energy Institute UK
Physicist Chartered Physicist[167] CPhys Institute of Physics UK

Professional qualifications for which the level of education is not applicable[edit]

Regulated by law or public authority[edit]

Professions with reserved activities:

Generic title Profession Competent authority Region
Notary public Notary Public[168] Master of the Faculties England and Wales

Regulated by professional bodies under royal charter[edit]

Professions with reserved activities:

Generic title Profession Postnominal letters Professional body Region
Arbitrator Associate of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators[169] ACIArb Chartered Institute of Arbitrators UK

Professions with protected titles without reserve of activities:

Generic title Protected title Postnominal letters Professional or regulatory body Region
Arbitrator Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators[170] MCIArb Chartered Institute of Arbitrators UK
Chartered Arbitrator[171] FCIArb Chartered Institute of Arbitrators UK

Professional qualifications in sectoral professions[edit]

The "sectoral professions" are ones which are regulated in every EU country and where training and education requirements have been harmonised. There is therefore no explicit training level associated with the qualifications in the regulations as the educational requirements do not vary between countries and do not need to be compared. All of these are regulated by law or public authority, not by professional bodies.

Profession Competent authority Region
Architect[172] Architects Registration Board UK
Dental Practitioner[172] General Dental Council UK
Doctor with basic training[172] General Medical Council UK
Doctor: Specialist doctor[172] General Medical Council UK
Doctor: General Practitioner[172] General Medical Council UK
Nurse and midwife[172] Nursing and Midwifery Council UK
Pharmacist[172] General Pharmaceutical Council GB
Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland NI
Veterinary Surgeon[172] Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons UK

Professional qualifications not included in the European directives[edit]

Not all chartered titles are included in the European directives on professional qualifications, but all UK chartered titles, and some lower-level titles, are issued by a professional body under the authority of a royal charter and are thus recognised professional qualifications (these should not be confused with membership levels within an organisation). These qualifications are sometimes associated with professions that are included in the directives as regulated under law or by public authority (e.g. architecture or psychology).

Non-chartered titles:

Professional Postnominal letters Professional body
Registered Environmental Technician[173] REnvTech Society for the Environment
Registered IT Technician[6] RITTech British Computer Society
Registered Science Technician[6] RSciTech Science Council
Registered Scientist[6] RSci Science Council
Registered Marine Technologist[6] RMarTech IMarEST

Chartered titles:

Professional Postnominal letters Professional body
Chartered Arboriculturalist[174] MICFor Institute of Chartered Foresters
Chartered Architect[175] RIBA Royal Institute of British Architects
Chartered Designer[176] MCSD & FCSD Chartered Society of Designers
Chartered Director[177] CDir Institute of Directors
Chartered Environmentalist[178] CEnv Society for the Environment
Chartered Ergonomist and Human Factors Specialist[179] CErgHF Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors
Chartered Horticulturist[180] CHort Chartered Institute of Horticulture
Chartered Internal Auditor[181] CMIIA/CFIIA Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors
Chartered Linguist[182] CL Chartered Institute of Linguists
Chartered Mathematics Teacher[183] CMathTeach Institute of Mathematics and its Applications
Chartered Member/Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development[184] Chartered MCIPD/Chartered FCIPD Chartered Institute of Professional Development
Chartered Member/Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment[185] Chartered MCISI/Chartered FCISI Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment
Chartered Member/Fellow of the Institute of Logistics and Transport[186] CMILT/FCILT Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport
Chartered Patent Attorney/Agent[187] CPA Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys
Chartered Physiotherapist[188] MCSP Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
Chartered Procurement and Supply Professional[189] MCIPS/FCIPS Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply
Chartered Psychologist[190] CPsychol British Psychological Society
Chartered Public Relations Practitioner[191] Chart.PR Chartered Institute of Public Relations
Chartered Quality Professionals[192] CQP Chartered Quality Institute
Chartered Radiation Protection Professional[193] CRadP Society for Radiological Protection]
Chartered Science Teacher[194] CSciTeach Science Council
Chartered Security Professional[195] CSyP Chartered Security Professionals Registration Authority
Chartered Teacher of English[196] CTE English Association
Chartered Wealth Manager[197] Chartered MCISI/Chartered FCISI Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment

References[edit]

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