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Continuous Professional Development - What You Should Know

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Thu, 05 March, 2020

Continuous Professional Development (CPD) is a process that provides individuals with the opportunity to plan, action and succeed in their career objectives. CPD is not meant to be an onerous task, rather it is meant to be a means for personnel to structure and achieve their professional goals as quickly and succinctly as possible.

CPD is important, not only to your professional goals, but as a means of demonstrating your commitment to remaining current in your technical knowledge. Those who participate in CPD acknowledge that, although their formal learning may have finished, advancements in technology do not stop, so to remain at the forefront of their discipline they must participate in CPD activities.

Maintaining a CPD record is simple. There are pages dedicated to it in your CSWIP Log Book, you can get them from your Professional Engineering Institution (such as The Welding Institute) or you could make your own using a spreadsheet, whatever is easiest for you!

Your CPD should cover a number of specific areas:

  • Date (of the activity)
  • Objective (which of your goals this activity will assist you in achieving)
  • Activity (what it is you did - attended an event, read a journal, etc.)
  • Learning outcome (what you learnt from doing this activity, how it helped you meet your objective) and
  • If you are recording for a professional engineering institute or your certification, the hours (and/or points), the activity is worth, as well as an authenticating signature (where applicable)

One of the questions that is asked the most about CPD is, “what can count as a CPD activity?” The simplest answer is that, “any activity that can be shown to have benefited you professionally” can be considered a CPD activity. You will not be able to link every activity you participate in to a specific objective (as mentioned above), however, that does not mean it has not aided you professionally, and therefore should still be recorded.

Once you have completed your CPD record for a year, you should reflect and evaluate what you have achieved – did you meet all the objectives you set for yourself and, if not, why? What have you learned or achieved this year? What goals will you set yourself next year based on your learning from this year?

CPD should be undertaken not as a chore, but as the means of ensuring a structured and tailored approach to your career development. For those who do not seek promotions or career changes, it should be seen as a means of remaining relevant within your current role and at the forefront of your specialism.