Many of us have Continuous Professional Development (CPD) plans which not only maps out our activities and achievements but helps us manage our own learning and growth throughout our career. But what exactly is a professional and personal development and why is it important?  Read on to find out how continuous learning and development will help you get ahead in your career.


What is continuous learning and development?

Continuous learning and development include both personal and professional development.  It enables you to continually improve your skills and the way you work, undertake activities which improve your self-understanding and helps you develop your skills so you can reach your potential.

By undertaking continuous development, not only will you improve your weaknesses and gain new skills, have an increased ability to embrace change and successfully deal with challenges, but it will make you a more valuable team member and may offer you opportunities for promotions.


What is personal development?

Personal development is the process of self-improvement, focusing on building your own awareness, knowledge, and skills, as well as your sense of identity.

Personal development is an essential part of an individual’s growth and progression. By exploring key areas for self-improvement, you’re more likely to feel fulfilled in your personal life – which could even bring benefits in your professional life.

Typical activities could include anything from developing a talent or fulfilling personal aspirations, through to improving your health and lifestyle or learning a new skill.


What is professional development?

Professional development is the learning of professional credentials, which can be achieved independently, or studied within the workplace.

It could involve studying for an Apprenticeship, gaining a professional qualification, or attending conferences and events.


Benefits of personal development

Working on your personal development is not only important for your own self-improvement but can also help you in a professional capacity.


1: You’ll develop a better idea of what you want to do  

If you undertake ongoing personal development, you will learn more about your abilities, motivations, and future ambitions.

It’ll allow you to discover your values and beliefs, providing you with a purpose for what you’re doing – both personally and professionally.


2: It’ll help you set clear goals

Once you’ve figured out more about yourself, you’ll be able to set yourself SMART objectives and meaningful goals.

It could be studying a course has helped you realise which career you’d like to pursue, or learning a language has helped you decide you’d like to travel – whatever the spark, expanding your knowledge will aid you to make better decisions about your future.


3: It’ll provide a better work-life balance

If you’re not happy at work, giving yourself some personal development time will enable you to get a better work-life balance.

The process of learning and development will improve your confidence, your morale and your knowledge. This may also offer you the opportunity to improve your career prospects, either through promotions, applying for a new job or changing your career.


 4: You’ll improve your career prospects

The key is not to view personal development as a separate entity from your professional life, as it may be a good way to help you achieve your career aspirations.

Your new knowledge could not only help you in your job, but it shows to your employer you’ve made a commitment to your personal development and you are dedicated and willing to learn and develop.