Continuous Professional Development : A Pleasure or a Chore?
It’s a fact of life for many of us that we need to have a constant up to date record of our Continuous Professional Development (CPD) activities and achievements. Your continuing professional development is about you recording to demonstrate how you improve your professional skills/knowledge and are consistently moving towards higher standards of professional practice.
Here are some of our favourite and effective ways to do this.
Coaching and Mentoring
Different concepts agreed, but both can be used to great advantage for professional development opportunities. Our workplace practices never stand still – or they shouldn’t! Using a skilled coach perhaps as a short term strategy to get you through a specific hurdle or a proficient mentor who can impart their experiences, provide motivation and guidance and role modelling, will allow you to explore different skills and gain deeper knowledge on areas for personal growth.
On the Job Training
A huge advantage is that the you are using real equipment in a real working environment and being trained, hopefully, by someone who is experienced in the activity. This is always the best option rather than simulation activities. There are also occasions where external trainers will be an option – say if you have a new piece of equipment. More often we are working as we are learning which is important and this is important especially when considering productivity. There is also first-hand feedback available as you do the work.
Planned Reading on a Specific Subject
It’s very easy to get side tracked when it comes to reading but to do this for CPD purposes then do have a plan. Simple. Focus on the topic you need and ideally try to read up on the topic from different angles from different writers. This often helps you conclude your own viewpoint. It might also expand your previously perceived viewpoint and it may even develop into a discussion opportunity related to your workplace.
This is an added bonus to everyone today as a valuable opportunity to researching online gives you a wide choice of mediums to explore for your CPD. Instead of reading a book or article there are creative spaces such as video channels and podcasts which are often the preferred method of learning for some people. Listen to inspirational speakers who you would otherwise not be able to go and physically see (think TED talks). So a truly global experience for us all.
Project Work and Secondment
In many workplaces there are projects on the go pretty much all the time. Have you ever discovered what might be happening in another department that impacts on you or your department that you could tap into as a learning opportunity? If it is something to that will help develop your skills or knowledge, as well as help with the project, there is no harm in asking if you can be involved. To what degree may have to be negotiable but this is a great way to get CPD that might even have some credit applied at the end of the project. Fancy your name next to an AWARD!?
Professional Body Branch Meetings
The secret to this strategy is to understand that it is pointless to go only once as the true value lies in continuous attendance. Each meeting should give you up to date information on your industry, new products, new services, new innovations and new people making a splash in the industry. It also gives you the chance to meet different people with different experiences and knowledge which can be invaluable. The development of strong face to face relationships with like minded industry professionals develops a more open mind and the ability to take on board other opinions, even if they are not necessarily your own!
Forums and social media groups spring to mind. There are many excellent industry specific opportunities for discussion and online networking. From these platforms often come the answers to questions you have always wanted to ask and again the different opinions is useful from the angle of you gaining a better understanding of why some people think a certain way – you may have colleagues in your workplace who think differently to you and it’s not always a case of changing their mind, but often a case of managing them and accepting a different viewpoint.
Professional Body CPD courses
Of course, we would include this, although it up there with the most popular recognisable way to put some currency and credibility behind the time you spend doing professional development. If you know (and you should know) here there is a gap in your knowledge or skill set, then you can plug it easily and effectively with an industry specific course and gain some CPD hours as well. It usually means financial investment, but, a planned career strategy will give you a return on the investment many fold.
If you want to discuss our CQI and IRCA courses for your professional development and have a chat about your career pathway: give me a call on 07789 872 948 or you can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org