The concept and importance of CPD
What is CPD?
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a combination of approaches; ideas and techniques that will help you manage your own learning and growth. CPD is an investment that you make in yourself. It’s a way of planning your development that links learning directly to practice. Therefore, CPD can help you keep your skills and knowledge up to date and prepare you for greater responsibilities. The focus should be on results. That is the benefits that professional development can bring you in the real world, whatever your profession.
The most important message is that one size doesn’t fit all. Wherever you are in your career now and whatever you want to achieve, you should tailor your CPD to help you. Depending on your specialism your awarding body may have some requirements regarding what Continuous Professional Development should look like.
Awarding body requirements
Society for Education and Training (SET) state that in line with most other professional bodies, SET expects members to remain in good professional standing by staying up to date with their subject specialism and approaches to teaching and learning. As a SET member, you will be asked to agree to make a commitment to your CPD, when you renew your SET membership each year. SET does not have a points system or minimum number of hours of CPD that members must achieve.
The Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM)
CPD is voluntary for membership but can be used as an alternative to formal management qualifications to join the ILM at a particular level of membership.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)
Continuous Professional Development is mandatory for all CIPD members. However, the CIPD does not set rules about the amount of hours to be completed. Members can log CPD evidence in the CIPD database and the CIPD will sometimes conduct inspections of the logs.
The Association for Project Management (APM)
CPD is mandatory for all APM members. As a result, Chartered members are required to undertake a minimum of 35 hours formal and informal CPD each year and to record their development on an individual log. The APM does not routinely check member’s records, but will audit them at their discretion.
The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM)
CPD is voluntary, unless you are a Chartered Marketer – in which case it is mandatory. Chartered Marketers and those applying to become chartered must complete, and have documented evidence, of at least 35 hours of Continuous Professional Development every year. For other members, the CIM sets a 35-hour annual target. CPD activities for the CIM are recorded via an online portal.
Keeping a record of some kind is useful for planning and reflection. However, as we can see most awarding bodies are not prescriptive about how you choose to do this. So, the key to this is getting into a routine. Recording, then reflecting on your learning regularly will help you to break a potentially large job down into smaller manageable chunks.
You learn something new every day!
It’s true, we all learn something new every day but trying to identify what you have learnt each day or week may feel unachievable. How can you identify your learning experiences? What counts as CPD?
- Reading relevant journal articles or reviewing books
- Taking training courses or formal development or study
- Peer review, mentoring or shadowing
- Online learning including engagement in discussion forums and blogs
- Viewing and reviewing television programmes, documentaries and the internet.
- You could even log examples such as attending a PTA event or a scout meeting. These will give you lots of opportunities to consider and reflect on how people behave, communicate and collaborate (or not!).
So if it’s not compulsory for your profession why bother?
We should bother with CPD as there is a whole range of benefits for us when we do. Benefits include:
- Boosting your confidence
- Strengthening your professional credibility
- Validating what you already know
- Provide a stepping-stone to taking a formal qualification
- Preparing you for promotional opportunities
- Helping you earn more money
- and helping you become more creative in tackling new challenges.
So you can see there are many positive reasons for managing your CPD. Even if you’re on a career break, CPD will ensure you’re able to return to work with the ability to talk about the value of your experience and how you’ve maintained your knowledge and skills throughout.
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