Friday, 7 October 2011

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) - What It Is and How to Record It


What is CPD?

Continuing Professional Development or CPD, is any career related activity undertaken to increase your knowledge, skills or qualifications. The underpinning principle behind CPD is that lifelong learning is necessary to ensure our workplace skills and knowledge remain up-to-date. CPD can take the form of:
  • Formal or informal education and training
  • Work-based learning
  • Professional activities
  • Self-directed learning
Why do I need to keep a record of my CPD?
There are a number of reasons why it is necessary to keep a record of your CPD including:
  • Maintain a record of your professional development activities that can be transferred to your CV. Including CPD activities in your CV demonstrates your up-to-date knowledge and skills;

  • Keep track of and provide evidence of professional development activities for inclusion in your career portfolio (or e-portfolio). Your career portfolio provides tangible evidence to back up your CPD claims;

  • Most professional and regulatory bodies require you achieve a certain number of CPD points annually in order to retain your membership status. You can also use your evidence to prove necessary competencies to attain certification;

  • Contribute to your CPD log as part of your workplace performance review. Keeping detailed CPD records can help you gain a promotion and/or a pay rise and demonstrate your commitment to your own career development.

  • Helps you reflect on your own career development, identify skills and knowledge gaps, as well as recognise when qualifications/certifications may be required. This can help you decide upon future CPD activities. It can also be useful to examine your CPD as part of career counselling to determine which activities you have (or haven't) enjoyed.
How do I keep a record of my CPD?
If you are a member of a professional association or your occupation is regulated, there will usually be an online CPD system in place making it easy for you to record and manage your CPD. Online CPD recording systems are generally referred to as e-portfolios or digital portfolios.
Your employer is likely to have a CPD policy together with CPD recording and management system. If your workplace doesn't have an active CPD program, you can establish your own CPD log. To record your CPD on your computer, you can create a basic CPD activity log by recording activities in a spreadsheet. Supporting evidence documents can be scanned and added to the document. It is advisable to also keep a hard copy of your CPD activity log in your career portfolio along with original evidence documents.
Some prefer to write down their CPD, using a journal or book to record and reflect upon their CPD activities. Office diaries often have a section at the end of each week with space for notes where you might like to jot down details of the week's CPD activities. These can then be transferred to a spreadsheet or other CPD recording system.
The most important thing is that you keep a regular log CPD activities undertaken and gather evidence documents to support your activities log. It can be useful to set aside time at the end of each week to identify and reflect upon any CPD activities you have undertaken and record them. Once you get into the habit of recording your CPD activities and collecting evidence documents, it will become second-nature.
If you are new to CPD, it can be useful to consult a career development specialist who can guide you through the process of setting up and managing your CPD. A career development specialist can also guide you in developing a high impact portfolio to showcase your CPD activities.


Lisa LaRue, MCareerDev, BSocSc(Couns), DipCareerGuid, RCDP, MCDI, MAC is a Career Development Consultant & Career Coach at CareerWorx www.careerworx.co.uk

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