27 Feb, 2019
CPD for Civil and Structural Engineers
All Engineering Professionals make a commitment to maintaining their competency in order to meet both current and future challenges within their industry. Engineers must undertake Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to ensure that their skills and knowledge are always up to date. CPD has become an integral part of a professional engineer’s life. With CPD courses for Civil Engineers increasing in demand, we’re delivering an article to help assist any current and future engineers.
Civil Engineers, Structural Engineers, Chartered Engineers, Engineering Technicians, ICT Technicians and Incorporated Engineers all make a commitment to maintaining their competence through CPD. Professional development courses for engineers are giving the above engineer types an opportunity to further develop their training whilst progress their careers.
The activities you undertake depend on where you are in your career and what you’re looking to achieve, which will vary in relation to your circumstances, needs and objectives. CPD examples for engineering professionals must cover a wide range of topics that will go beyond the normal knowledge of structural or civil engineering. These topics will include the need to keep up to date with changes to design codes and standards, changes to construction methods and keeping abreast of building standards legislation.
This article provides an overview of CPD for Civil Engineers, Structural Engineers, some simple CPD examples for engineering professionals as well as a brief overview of the Institution of Structural Engineer’s (IStructE) CPD requirements, ICE CPD Hours requirements and other main institutional bodies.
CPD Examples for Engineering Professionals
A common misconception when it comes to CPD is that it always means paying to attend training courses or seminars. Although paid training courses certainly count as CPD, learning goes far beyond just this avenue and very often can cost nothing other than an investment in your time and effort. CPD is any learning activity that enables an engineering professional to develop their competencies relevant to their profession. Continuing Professional Development is a holistic activity, not just relating to technical knowledge, but should contain an appropriate balance of all professional skills. Great CPD examples include – seminars, educational events, online E-Learning, private study, work experience and other types of work-based learning.
CPD must be relevant to the type of work being undertaken by the engineer and should be able to demonstrate necessary steps taken to remain competent to their chosen area of speciality. It is essentially learning that can be divided into seven broad types:
- Work-based learning & development
- CPD Seminars for Structural Engineers
- Structural engineering CPD courses, seminars and conferences
- Professional body learning events
- Further self-directed learning
- Mentoring and coaching
- Industry-related education
Not all learning takes place within a group or facilitator situation. For more information on the various types of CPD, such as structured, self-directed learning please visit CPD explained.
Who are the governing bodies for Civil and Structural Engineers?
A commitment to Continued Professional Development is a requirement to be a member of many professional engineering organisations including;
- Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE)
- Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE)
- Institute of Highway Engineers (IHE)
- Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE)
- Institute of Structural Engineers (IStructE)
- Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET)
The Engineering Council is Britain’s regulatory authority for registration of Chartered and Incorporated engineers and engineering technicians.
Institution of Structural Engineer’s (IStructE) CPD Requirements
The Institution of Structural Engineers is the world’s leading professional body for qualifications and standards in structural engineering with over 27,000 members operating across 105 countries. IStructE acknowledges that CPD can be undertaken in a number of different ways. 30 hours per year of Continuing Professional Development is the expectation for structural engineering professionals, however, IStructE has recognised that some members may have periods where they need not undertake their normal level of structural engineering CPD.
The expectation is 90 hours over a period of three years to take into account times of reduced CPD. If there is a valid reason why you cannot gain 30 hours of CPD in a given year – or you do not manage to gain 90 hours over three years – then this will be taken into account during assessment. If a member does not comply with IStructE CPD policy, i.e. does not submit an appropriate CPD record, they may ultimately be removed from membership.
Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) CPD Hours Requirements
The Institution of Civil Engineers is an independent professional association for civil engineers and a charitable body in the United Kingdom. As some people refer to as ICE CPD, the Institute of Structural Engineers award professional qualifications that are the industry standard, lead the debates around infrastructure and the built environment and provide an unmatched level of training, knowledge and thinking. As an ICE member, you will be required to manage your own Continuing Professional Development. This means being able to send an annual record of your past year’s ICE CPD and your plans for the year ahead. ICE CPD Hours Requirements state;
As a Professional Engineering Institution registered with the Engineering Council, we consider effective CPD important. This is both in developing our members and ensuring that our reputational standing remains high.
ICE CPD hours requirements explain that anything that has contributed to learning and development can count towards civil engineering CPD e.g. courses, seminars, conferences, reading relevant publications, web-based research and personal development activities. ICE recommend you maintain your training and active learning whatever your circumstances and should record relevant developments and effective outcomes. ICE CPD should actively enhance your knowledge and skills and not be dependent on how long it takes to acquire that knowledge.
The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) is one of the largest science, engineering and technology institutions in the world. The IET offers a wide variety of products and services to support members’ CPD activities, many of which are free or discounted to members. Members should aim to undertake a minimum of 30 hours CPD per year, which could be split as follows:
- Personal technical knowledge/skills – Ten hours
- Job role technical knowledge/skills – Ten hours
- Personal soft skills – Ten hours
- Planned CPD – a minimum of ten hours
Unplanned CPD Remaining balance (up to 20 hours) Ad-hoc opportunities and less structured activities, such as attending events and exhibitions, self-study, etc.
What is the best way to plan and record your CPD?
It is important to plan your CPD and identify the areas that you need development in. The current approach to CPD is cyclical, working through the following points and then starting again:
- Review: identify your competencies and needs, prioritise areas for development.
- Planning: consider how your requirements are to be met including activities and resources needed.
- Development Activities: put your plan into action.
- Accessing / Evaluating Achievement: record the development activities you have participated in, identify what you have learnt, the benefits gained and where possible document any evidence to show you have completed these activities.
Visit our CPD Explained page for a more detailed explanation on how to plan and action your CPD. Your CPD records are an excellent way to demonstrate that your knowledge and skills are up-to-date. It doesn’t have to be too onerous to keep records – if you regularly record your activities as you do them, it’s a straightforward process.
Recording CPD is important and beneficial in a number of ways:
- To aid the process of reviewing and reflection;
- To remind yourself what you have learnt;
- To provide information for potential employers, e.g. to help build an extended CV;
- For appraisals and promotion boards;
- For regulatory requirements;
- To provide evidence when proving competence, such as when applying for professional registration.
Structural Engineering CPD Activity Tracking
Keep a record of your structural engineering CPD activities and after each activity, reflect on what you have gained – the knowledge you have absorbed, the skills you have developed and how it has influenced your attitude and approach. Talking to your manager or mentor can help with this as the questions they as will prompt you to see your learning objectively. The CPD hours you record against each activity should reflect the amount of learning that directly contributes to structural engineering CPD that is relevant to you as an engineering professional.
This article was aimed to help provide an overview of the Continuing Professional Development requirements for Civil and Structural Engineers, as well as provide some simple structural engineering CPD examples for engineering professionals. You can also view our Engineering CPD Providers or visit the Engineering CPD Industry Hubs for a range of CPD activities relevant to your career.