Continuing Professional Development is widely recognised as fundamental to the improvement of standards and skills for individuals and their industries. Prior to attempting to understand how to make the most of the various CPD opportunities available, it is important to understand why CPD is important, why it exists and its primary purpose.
Why is CPD important and why does it exist?
Continuing Professional Development exists to ensure that an individual enhances their skills and abilities once they have formally qualified. Typically, academic qualifications have already been completed at this stage and an individual is now working within their specific industry and job function. CPD is important as it helps to ensure that further learning is progressed in a structured, practical and relevant way to guarantee that there are applied efficiencies in learning. CPD allows an individual to focus on what specific skills and knowledge they require over a short-term period, say 12 months, in order to be confident there is recognisable improvement within their proficiency and skill sets.
“Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think” – Albert Einstein.
The purpose of CPD
In an ever-increasing globalised and competitive society, the importance of Continuing Professional Development cannot be overstated. The world’s industries are forever evolving, which creates exciting opportunities but which also comes with challenges. CPD enables an individual to regularly apply attention to important areas of development and takes appropriate action to reduce any shortfalls in knowledge. Equally, an individual must see Continuing Professional Development as a way to remain competitive with his or her peers, and as an opportunity to differentiate themselves at moments where this may be required, such as in job interviews or in tenders for new work and business acquisition. As more people become professionally qualified with similar qualifications, CPD becomes more important as a means of separating yourself from the pack.
A planned approach to Continuing Professional Development allows an individual to put themselves in charge of their own career development and work-related ambitions. A personal empowerment of learning brings with it an increase in confidence and resulting abilities, all of which correlate to an improvement of capability for their employment environment.
Importance of CPD for Employers
The responsibility for completing Continuing Professional Development lies ultimately with the individual, often within the context of their membership and involvement with industry professional bodies or institutes. However, more and more employers are taking a proactive and supporting role with the CPD required by their employees. Aside from industry associations, the importance of CPD within the general enterprise is growing, as more employers see the benefits of more highly skilled, motivated and committed workforce. There is a common misunderstanding with some employers that CPD takes significant time which may result in periods of “out of the business”. However, the availability of more flexible CPD suited for business requirements has increased significantly in recent years, with the introduction of online learning, short courses and half-day workshops, as well as distance learning and educational exhibitions. These can provide CPD learning seminars alongside new business revenue and networking opportunities.