The value in continuing professional development (CPD)

In the competitive business world, no one wants to give anything short of their best. Many of us want to put our best foot forward so we can inspire those around us and nurture lifelong supporters of our business. One of the few certainties of life is that things are constantly changing. What can business leaders do to keep up with markets that are rapidly evolving?

This is where continuing professional development (CPD) enters the picture. CPD encompasses a holistic journey of continuous learning. Individuals undertake activities to maintain professional credentials and embark on pursuits to further their knowledge and skill set. Some professionals complete mandatory CPD requirements to maintain their registration, while others do it to acquire greater knowledge and career specialisation. Whether you’re obligated to complete compulsory CPD or not, CPD is highly enriching for every profession.

Education is ongoing

Education shouldn’t stop when you finish your degree. You may have completed the practical experience requirements for graduation and have a new job lined up, but that doesn’t mean learning is over. Consumer needs are constantly changing and there are always better ways of solving challenges. CPD ensures ongoing competency and career fulfilment.

You don’t grow by doing the same thing each day. CPD exposes you to new skills and ways of thinking. Enhancing your knowledge and skills helps you remain a cut above the rest. You can deliver quality, one-of-a-kind service to the public and consistently make meaningful contributions.

Invigorate your career

Routine job behaviour, otherwise known as “clock-work habits” can foster complacency. This can lead to dissatisfaction, poor performance and frustration. Because CPD exposes you to new information and skills, it can help you improve job performance. Seeking opportunities to continuously learn empowers you to follow your passions. The more you learn, the more opportunities you have. If you’re stuck in a low-paying, entry-level position, committing to CPD can help you fast-track your way to promotions and better paid positions.

This is because CPD:

  • exposes you to renowned thought leaders and emerging technologies
  • keeps you up-to-date with current industry standards
  • expands your knowledge and skillset
  • provides opportunities for you to apply your learning
  • allows you to gain in-depth understanding and specialisation.

In ensuring high standards of professional conduct, committing to CPD makes you an asset to anyone you work for. So, what does CPD involve?

Formal CPD can include:  

  • completing tertiary study (full-time or part-time)
  • conducting research in an area of interest
  • writing papers and delivering presentations
  • attending short skills workshops
  • undertaking mentoring programs.

Informal CPD can include:

  • discussions with colleagues
  • reading books on areas of interest
  • sharing information at meetings
  • active involvement in a professional association related to your occupation.

Committing to CPD helps you remain interested, decreasing the likelihood of career burnout. CPD enables you to feel better about yourself and your abilities.

Up your reading

Reading enacts lucrative learning opportunities. It allows you to expand your vocabulary, supports optimal brain function, connects you to great ideas and thought leaders, and gives you the background information you need to progress. Reading also helps to improve your communication, the skillset required for more rewarding interactions. Given its transformative power, reading should be a crucial component of any CPD journey.

Demonstrating CPD: The professional development portfolio

You need to keep a professional development portfolio to understand the impact your CPD has on yourself and those around you. Keeping a CPD portfolio can reinforce what you’ve learned. It also acts as a tangible collation of your achievements. Demonstrating CPD is important for convincing prospective employers and business partners that you’re the best candidate for the position. It also allows people to see what interests you and the kind of professional journey you have.

Content to include in a professional development portfolio can consist of:

  • a record of attendance at formal learning activities (such as degrees and skills workshops)
  • evidence of ongoing learning (such as papers you’ve written)
  • evaluation of the impact your CPD has on those around you. How have your colleagues/partners/customers benefited from your commitment to CPD?
  • reflections of your learning. How has CPD helped shape you both personally and professionally?
  • supporting documents (such as certificates of attainment and professional licences).

Organisations should take part in the CPD investment

Benjamin Franklin once said, ‘An investment in knowledge pays the best interest’. Although CPD is a journey forged through the initiative of the individual, it’s also highly worthwhile for organisations to take part.

According to Forbes, companies that offer comprehensive training programs experience 218% higher income per employee than companies that don’t. Organisations that invest in CPD can also reap the rewards of increased public confidence. People enjoy working with organisations that prioritise innovation and professional development, because they believe that they’re more likely to experience the best outcome possible.

CPD is highly beneficial for all professions. It allows you to remain up to date with industry standards, learn new skills and cultivate lifelong passions.

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