If you’re looking to boost your career prospects, you may want to consider the importance of CPD. Used by thousands of professionals to develop new skills and knowledge throughout their career, CPD has become crucial in terms of career progression. So, what is CPD and how could it benefit your career prospects?
From the moment you start work as a practising professional, you have an ongoing responsibility to keep developing your skills and expanding your knowledge – by engaging in professional development. The term Continuing Professional Development, or CPD describes any learning activities that professionals engage in to either learn new skills or further existing ones through independent, participation-based or interactive learning.
It’s a proactive and conscious form of learning which uses various methods to help individuals either learn new skills or develop existing ones. As the name suggests, it is an ongoing learning process. It is also a self-driven form of learning. So, it would be you, rather than your employer, who decides to undergo additional training. The focus of CPD is firmly on results – the benefits that professional development can bring you in the real world.
The benefits of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) are numerous and wide-ranging - both from the employee and employer’s point of view. Well-crafted and properly delivered CPD is important because it delivers benefits to you, your profession, your employer and the public. For you as a professional, the benefit of CPD is to ensure your skills and knowledge are kept up to date, and the professional standard of your registrations and qualifications are maintained. CPD allows individuals to continually up-skill and develop their proficiencies, regardless of age, occupation, or educational level.
There are no clear disadvantages for your employer either, as CPD helps to advance the body of knowledge and technology within your profession. CPD ensures that company standards remain both high and consistent, and helps to demonstrate that you are actively dedicated to the job role and value your commitment to the role. In other words, CPD represents a great platform for career progression and advancement – not to mention higher potential earnings.
Other benefits of CPD is that it can be an excellent self-motivation tool. CPD reminds you of your own achievements and progression, along with a greater appreciation of the implications and impacts of your work. Plus, its flexibility and diversity – in terms of the different forms of CPD learning available – gives you an opportunity to find a learning approach that fits you best.
These are just some of the great benefits CPD can provide. The question is, how can you partake in Continuing Professional Development?
CPD can take on a variety of forms. From seminars, webinars, online training, and classroom courses. Crucially, CPD is facilitated and structured in a way that sets learning objectives and requires professionals to reflect on what they have learnt. CPD can comprise of a wide range of structured and self-directed activities.
Structured CPD: This type of CPD involves active and structured learning that is usually done outside the organisation for which you work. This type of CPD usually consists of more than one professional, however in some cases it could just involve a single professional. Some activities in this form of structured learning include:
Online and offline training courses
Learning-oriented conferences and meetings
Online and offline seminars and lectures
Other CPD-certified events
Self-directed CPD: Informal CPD is also known as self-directed learning, in which the professionals carry out development activities according to their own choice and without a structured syllabus. This form of learning usually consists of:
Studying online and offline publications written by industry experts
Reading articles and case studies
Listening to and making notes on podcasts
Following industry-specific news feeds
Writing articles and essays for personal development
Additional studying and revising for professional examinations
Each of the above has its own range of benefits and most professionals choose to undergo several types of CPD for best results.
If you want CPD to further your career, there’s a number of factors you need to consider. Ensuring you’re undertaking the correct type of training to fit your goals is crucial in helping you minimise any disadvantages and maximise the benefits of CPD. It’s not enough to simply find a course which matches your industry. You also need to consider whether or not the training matches your end goal. Thinking about the importance of CPD suiting your chosen industry might potentially save you time in the future.
Have you got the time to commit to the CPD course you’re considering? If you’re already working, you’ll need to find a part-time course which also fits around your family and budget commitments. You’re also going to want to consider the type of study you prefer. Do you thrive in studying with others? If so, you’ll want to look into in-venue courses and seminars. If your sole purpose is to study alone at your own pace, an e-learning CPD course would be a better option. Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all to CPD - the one that will be best in your circumstances depends on what you want to learn, your budget, and your own learning style.
It’s also important that you reflect on your learning to benefit from CPD. This is the most important stage of the CPD process, as it enables you to determine what worked and where your strengths lie, and how you can plan and improve future CPD activities.
Overall, CPD is crucial in terms of professional development. Provided you choose the right type to match your needs, it can help you progress in your current career, or help you to branch out into a totally different field if you’d prefer. There are so many reasons to choose to continue your professional development.
We hope this brief overview article was helpful. For more information on the benefits of CPD, you can visit our CPD explained page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.