Landscape architects (or landscape designers) plan, design and advise on the construction of urban, rural, residential and public landscapes. This requires practitioners to maintain and enhance their skills and knowledge, while keeping abreast with the latest changes in technologies, legislation and sustainable practices. This article will provide a brief overview of CPD requirements for Landscape Architects, as well as the types of CPD and courses available.
Overview of the Landscape Architecture Sector
Providing high-quality services for the benefit of both the broader community and the environment in which we live is a strength of the landscape architect’s profession. The role of a landscape architect or designer can be varied and wide-ranging. They can work on a variety of projects from designing parks and green space, to gardens and sports sites or improving construction sites.
Many landscape architects work alone, while others involves collaboration with other professionals such as landscape contractors, environmentalists, surveyors and engineers across a wide range of projects in both natural and urban environments. Landscape architecture often addresses concerns such as climate change, sustainability, water and housing.
In the constantly evolving world of construction, it is important to continue learning every day, whether you are a newly qualified architect or have many years of experience under your belt. Landscape architects need to be confident in their ideas, the products and materials that they choose, and the designs they create in order to deliver successful results in practice. Continuing Professional Development, or CPD, is the systematic way in which landscape architects maintain, improve and broaden the competencies and expertise required in their professional lives.
Many landscape architecture organisations and Institutes require members to under a certain number of hours or accumulate points of Continuing Professional Development in order to retain membership and maintain competence. Now a requirement of the Code of Conduct, architects failing to provide records of their CPD within a reasonable time period may be considered to be in breach of the code and be removed from practice.
What is considered as Continuing Professional Development?
Recognising that you are the best person to assess the value of an activity to your professional development is important, as CPD demonstrates your personal commitment to continue to develop your professional knowledge and practice.
The objective of providing CPD requirements for Landscape Architects is to keep the level of understanding, knowledge and skills up to date during their professional practice. CPD is a self-directed and planned program, allowing you to take charge of your personal learning and professional needs in order to broaden gaps in knowledge, keep up-to-date with current Legislation and Regulations, innovation, trends or changing practice. CPD can be either formal or informal, although many professional registration bodies and institutes have their own specific requirements for points or hours based CPD.
A registered architect may bring CPD into effect by, for example, taking part in a course, excursion, lecture, training, seminar, symposium, or workshop. It can also include other kinds of experience and activity, such as volunteering, researching good or best industry practice, dealing with a new problem or issue, or mentoring a junior member of staff.
For Landscape Architects, effective CPD should:
- relate to your practice as a Landscape Architect;
- be additional to activities already undertaken in the course of your practice or employment;
- broaden your experience in practice: and
- maintain an understanding of all competencies applicable to Landscape Architects.
Whatever the activity it is important to take a reflective approach to their practice by reviewing their activities and experiences, reflecting on what has been learned, and how to apply that learning in their practice.