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What is CPD and what does it stand for?

CPD is a great system that allows you to show that continuous learning and improvement is taking place. Begun centuries ago with medical institutions and Royal Medical Colleges, CPD training is considered essential by many professional bodies, such as the General Medical Council, Royal College of Nursing, and the Royal Institute of British Architects.

If you are unfamiliar with the term, here is all you need to know about CPD, what it means and stands for, and how it can benefit your career.

What is CPD?

CPD stands for ‘Continuing Professional Development’, which is a process of keeping track of any skills, experience, and knowledge that you gain during your working life. This includes both informal and formal knowledge that is gained after the essential basic training you undertook as a new starter.

CPD combines a number of approaches, techniques, and ideas to allow you to manage your growth and educational developments. In this sense, it could refer to a portfolio of some sort, documenting all your developments as a professional. On the other hand, it can also be a learning and development plan, with records of your achievements.

What is the purpose of CPD?

The purpose of CPD, put simply, is to encourage, nurture, and keep a documented record of all the steps you have taken to grow within your profession. Not only will this allow you to record what you have learnt, but it will also help you review and reflect on what you have learnt, what worked, what didn’t, and what you can improve on.

The features of CPD

To be considered CPD, the process must:

  • Have documented notes
  • Be directed by yourself, rather than an employer
  • Be about learning from experience by reflecting on what you have learnt after the fact
  • Be about working towards development goals you want to achieve
  • Have a combination of formal and informal learning

How CPD can benefit you

CPD can have many benefits. However, arguably the most important benefit of CPD is that it is an investment into yourself and your future. It allows you to plan your development directly correlating with your professional practices.

Undertaking CPD allows you to always keep your skills and knowledge up to date, continuously learning on the most cutting-edge research, and benefiting from the newest theories and practices in your field.

It can also help you to plan ahead and take steps towards creating new opportunities for yourself in the future, preparing you for the bigger responsibilities that you might need to take on. In some cases, progressing within a company can require CPD in order for you to take on the job, as it will demonstrate your professional standing.

The questions you should ask yourself to start CPD

If you are considering CPD, or are unsure how to start, it can help to ask yourself the following questions.

Where am I currently?

At this current moment in time, where are you situated in terms of your job role and title? Consider all learning experiences that have happened recently, paying close attention to what you have learnt, things that came to light, and how you might approach it differently in the future.

It can help to write down your current skills, strengths, specialisms, qualifications, and any other formal and informal training you have received. This can even include things such as sharing or swapping job roles, a frequent occurrence during the pandemic, no matter how temporary the situation might have been.

Where do I want to be in the future?

Next, ask yourself where you wish to be in the future. What are your overall career goals? Is there a specific job role that you would like to progress to in a few years? Or do you want to move into a different field, transition into a new industry, or broaden your specialisms? Make a note of all your hopes, and circle the main objectives you want to achieve.

What do I need to do to get there?

So, you now know where you are and where you want to go… the only thing left to work out is how to get from A to B. This can include additional training, taking on more responsibilities, gradually progressing through the company, or ensuring you keep your skills refreshed and up to date.

With this in mind, you can start to seek CPD opportunities such as training courses, refresher courses, and in-office training that could help you to continuously progress towards your goal.

So, with all the above established, what’s next? It’s time to take the first step on your CPD development journey by finding CPD training to suit your needs.

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