You may have studied for years and still attend countless training courses in whatever your chosen profession may be. However, it is continuing with your professional development, or CPD, that helps us to track our own development and keeps us up to date.
Whether you are a lawyer, doctor, nurse, school teacher or in any other professional, you will have worked hard to get where you are today. You will no doubt be exposed to on-going training courses to keep your skills current.
However, CPD is a chance for you to reflect on your own development and how much you have learned and continue to learn. You can keep a record of your training and development and get some perspective on where you still need to improve and what you can be proud of achieving so far.
CPD varies from profession to profession. For instance, if you are a solicitor you will be required to devote a certain number of hours every month or year to different CPD courses in areas that you may need to update your skills and knowledge in. For example, you may need CPD training as a refresher in family law, conveyancing or employment law. Doctors and nurses are also required to devote time to updating their experience in areas that are constantly changing.
One of the key features of CPD across the professions is the fact that it is almost always the responsibility of the professional to make sure that it happens and is kept up to date. It should be something that you must drive — not your employer.
It should be primarily focused on learning and reviewing areas that need change and improvement in your experience and knowledge. The learning can be both formal and informal. Most CPD also involves time to write down goals and objectives for future development.
How CPD Can Benefit You and Your Career
Some professionals will need to go on CPD courses to continue being members of certain professional bodies and institutions. These are sometimes also important for career progression.
CPD can help you to form an overview of your career and development to date. You can reflect on what you have achieved and how your career has progressed.
This reflection will help you to map out which direction you want your career to take and how you can go forward with the relevant development and experience you have already gained.
You may also discover areas for improvement and any gaps that may need to be addressed in your knowledge and skills. New development areas may be identified. This is essential for a well-rounded professional career to be successful.
If you are thinking about applying for new jobs, your CPD will give you great examples of experience that you can use on your CV or during an interview. It can also highlight your professional status to potential employers or clients.
Whichever profession you work in, it is crucial that you are aware of the CPD requirements and also that you take them seriously so you remain current and in charge of your own professional development.