What does CPD mean?

CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development. It refers to the process of tracking and documenting the skills, knowledge and experience that you gain both formally and informally as you work, beyond any initial training. It’s a record of what you experience, learn and then apply. The term is generally used to mean a physical folder or portfolio documenting your development as a professional. Some organisations use it to mean a training or development plan, which I would argue is not strictly accurate.

What is it for?

The CPD process helps you manage your own development on an on-going basis. It’s function is to help you record, review and reflect on what you learn. 

Training and development - what's the difference?

These terms are often used interchangeably, though there is a distinction. As a rule of thumb, training is formal and linear. It has to do with learning how to do something specific, relating to skill and competence. Training can be as simple as using a PC application and as complex as learning how to be a pilot. Development is often informal and has a wider application, giving you the tools to do a range of things and relating to capability and competency. It involves progression from basic know-how to more advanced, mature or complex understanding.  Alternatively it can be about widening your range of transferable skills like leadership, managing projects or organising information.

What is the key features of the CPD process?

To justify the name, a Continuing Professional Development needs to:

  • be a documented process
  • be self-directed: driven by you, not your employer
  • focus on learning from experience, reflective learning and review
  • help you set development goals and objectives
  • include both formal and informal learning.
How will CPD benefit the social service professional?

CPD may be a requirement of membership of a professional body. It can help you to reflect, review and document your learning and to develop and update your professional knowledge and skills. It is also very useful to:

  • provides an overview of your professional development to date
  • reminds you of your achievements and how far you’ve progressed
  • directs your career and helps you keep your eye on your goals
  • uncovers gaps in your skills and capabilities
  • opens up further development needs
  • provides examples and scenarios for a CV or interview
  • demonstrates your professional standing to clients and employers
  • helps you with your career development or a possible career change.
    How to start obtaining CPD points?

    Keep a learning log and record your thoughts in whatever way suits you best. You may find it helpful to write things down in detail, for example, or to make notes on insights and learning points. The process of writing makes you think about your experiences at the time, and makes planning and reflection much easier. You can’t review your experiences without recording them, however good your memory is.

    Answering the following questions may help you to get started:

    1. Where am I now?

    Review and reflect on any learning experiences over the previous year or over the past three months. Write your thoughts down about what you learned, what insights it gave you and what you might have done differently. Include both formal training events and informal learning, such as:

    • learning from colleagues or shared learning from networking
    • reading about new technologies, new methods of working, legislative changes
    • shadowing or assisting an experienced colleague
    • insights and learning points from coaching and mentoring
    • reflections, insights and learning points from taking on a new responsibility
    • organisational or role change
    • temporary job swaps within the department/organisation
    • deputising or covering for colleagues
    • insights and lessons learned from mistakes
    • lessons learned from critical incidents or events

    Make a note of any outcomes of each learning experience and what difference it has made to you, your colleagues, your students (if relevant) or your employer.

    2. Where do I want to be?

    Write down your overall career goals – where you want to be in two, five and 10 years’ time. Then write down no more than three specific and achievable shorter term objectives, including the dates by which you want to achieve them.

    3. What do I have to do to get there?

    Looking at your overall career goals, make a note of what you need to do to achieve them. This could include further training, job or role progression or changes in direction.

    For shorter term objectives, include the first step – what you can do today or tomorrow. For example, having a chat with your manager about a new responsibility or finding out about developments  in the industry from a colleague who has experience of it.

    4. When should I review progress?

    This step is essential! You’ll need to set a date in advance for review of the objectives you’ve set yourself. You can either do this from one review to the next or decide to review regularly – once every three, six or 12 months. Put it in your diary and do it! The cycle of continuing professional development has begun.

    Well crafted and delivered continuing professional development is important because it delivers benefits to the individual, their profession and the public.

    What are the advantages of CPD?
    • CPD ensures your capabilities keep pace with the current standards of others in the same field.
    • CPD ensures that you maintain and enhance the knowledge and skills you need to deliver a professional service to your clients and the community.
    • CPD ensures that you and your knowledge stay relevant and up to date. You are more aware of the changing trends and directions in your profession. The pace of change is probably faster than it’s ever been – and this is a feature of the new normal that we live and work in. If you stand still you will get left behind, as the currency of your knowledge and skills becomes out-dated.
    • CPD helps you continue to make a meaningful contribution to your team. You become more effective in the workplace. This assists you to advance in your career and move into new positions where you can lead, manage, influence, coach and mentor others.
    • CPD helps you to stay interested. Experience is a great teacher, but it does mean that we tend to do what we have done before.  Focused CPD opens you up to new possibilities, new knowledge and new skill areas.
    • CPD can deliver a deeper understanding of what it means to be a professional, along with a greater appreciation of the implications and impacts of your work.
    • CPD helps advance the body of knowledge within your profession.
    • CPD can lead to increased public confidence in individual professionals and their profession as a whole.
    • Depending on the profession – CPD contributes to improved protection and quality of life, the environment, sustainability, property and the economy.  This particularly applies to high risk areas, or specialised practice areas which often prove impractical to monitor on a case by case basis.
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        Have a question about the content covered in your online course? Email info@tmsafri.com for clarification or more details about where to find the information you need in the regulations. Questions regarding problems experienced during your online training should be directed to info@tmsafri.com. TMS AFRICA technical support staff is standing by to answer questions seven days a week, 8:30 a.m. 5:00 p.m. CAT.

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