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What does CPD stand for?

CPD stands for continuing professional development. CPD is your own way of maintaining a documented and tracked commitment to the development of your skills, knowledge, and experience. Focussing on your CPD will ensure that you are able to perform in your job role to the best of your ability and give you the confidence to progress your career. 

How to track your CPD

CPD is your responsibility! There are a number of ways that you can plan and monitor your CPD to ensure that you continue to develop within your professional field. We have created a CPD personal development record and action plan form for you to download and use which will help you keep a track of all your  CPD activity.  

Knowing how to track and record your progress for your CPD is key to assisting with your on-going professional development and the form you have just downloaded is just an aid to help you. We suggest that you make a folder and keep the tracker along with any supporting materials that you use while learning. These materials can be used to demonstrate to your employers that you are actively working on your CPD and prove to be a useful reminder for yourself.

So where do you start? First, let’s identify the different types of CPD. CPD can be split into three categories to include active learning, self-directed learning, and reflective learning:

Active learning

Active learning is gaining new skills or honing the skills you already have within your daily role - such as taking part in industry-related webinars, working on presentation skills, participating in a team meeting or even doing an Apprenticeship.  

Self-directed learning

Is as stated self-directed, this could mean listening to Podcast, reading industry-related business books, reviewing guides and even reading up on company policies.

Reflective learning

This section of your time is to reflect on your development so far in the process, by doing this it will help you develop critical thinking skills and improve on future performance by analysing your experience to date.

CPD could also be included as part of your annual staff reviews as a personal goal set with your line manager, and they would want you to track and review your CPD and possibly review this with you each quarter. This could then help you to start adding to your next CPD plan. 

Why is continuing professional development important?

Ensuring that you are focused on continuing professional development is very important, as it has an impact on every industry as they are always changing and moving forward with technological advances or even just policy changes. It may be that your company can identify a skill gap and you are the solution to solving this as part of your CPD - which will, in turn, will improve your professional credibility.

If you have been on an extended career break, do you need to do CPD?

Yes, after a career break you will need to brush up on the latest rules, policies and industry changes that have occurred during your time away. This will help you to be more prepared for when you return to work. 

If you have not been able to progress your CPD before returning to work, then plan it as part of your return to work plan. Make sure you utilise your team as an on-the-job learning resource as they will have information regarding any changes or advancements that have taken place in your absence. 

What’s are the stages of the CPD process

Planning makes for good progression

This first step we have already covered, but you need to make sure that you set out a plan to ensure you meet your objectives and within realistic timescales. You should allocate time to act on this plan and ensure that any off-the-job training has been pre-approved by your line manager.

Reflection is itself a learning process

So you have worked on your plan and have taken on a wealth of new knowledge, now you need to take time to reflect on this and review your progress. This stage is useful as it will highlight areas of additional training that you might need and provide you with direction for further training to add to your plan. 

The use of your CPD tracker and folder will play a vital role in the reflection of your CPD over the last 12 months, and you will need to be honest with yourself on areas where you still lack knowledge, need to expand on a skill set or gain further experience. Once you have a list of these points, add them to your future CPD plan.

Apply what you’ve learned or lose it

If you don't apply the skills, knowledge and experience you gained from your CPD training quite soon after you have learnt it, you run the risk of it becoming obsolete or even worse, you forget what you have learnt. Try to make time, therefore, to practice what you have learned as soon as possible after the training. 

Applying what you have learned from CPD to your role and working environment will, in turn, have a positive effect on your team as a whole. Having new skills, which are needed within a team will help you stand out from the crowd. Your dedication to your CPD will get you noticed by senior staff.

Continue the cycle and track your positive Impact

So now you are already on the CPD route, it’s time to share this knowledge and help build and continue the cycle of progression and learning. You should also include any mentoring that you do with your team on your CPD development plan. 

At Paragon Skills, we offer a range of Apprenticeships from levels 2 - 5 which provide structured CPD opportunities for employees across a variety of sectors. These nationally recognised qualifications are accredited by City & Guilds and also our leadership and management Apprenticeships are accredited by ILM (Insitute of Leadership & Management). Why not contact us today on 0800 783 2545 and we can help you with your CPD plan.