Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is the means by which professionals maintain, improve and broaden their knowledge and skills and develop the personal qualities and competencies required in their working lives. It is a process for setting yourself objectives for development then charting your progress towards achieving them. It is about where you want to be and how you plan to get there.

We have adopted a set of standards for Continuing Professional Development and are here to support your development and progress by prompting you to do CPD as part of the annual CPD audit.

The professional skills and knowledge you require will vary considerably, depending on your professional role and discipline. Your CPD should reflect both your current needs and your future aspirations. It is for you to decide the areas of skill and knowledge that are relevant to your role. As your career evolves, your skills and knowledge needs will change and your CPD& will help you steer and manage your own route into the future.

A wide range of activities can contribute to your CPD, however it is not about the quantity of the activities but the quality of the reflections linked to recent learning activities. It is for you to recognise needs and opportunities both inside and outside your workplace and to take advantage of learning experiences to developing your own CPD programme.

We are often asked to describe the importance of Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

Why is CPD important and why does it matter? You’ve finished your training and got your certificate or degree. Check. You’ve completed all your practical experience requirements so that you can pass and graduate. Check. Your new job is all lined up and ready to go. Mission accomplished. But... hey! Not so quick!

It’s fair to say the first part of your mission is well and truly accomplished. Sit back and give yourself a pat on the back. But don’t take too long about it or you’ll be left lagging behind your colleagues. The same is true for professionals with many years experience in the workplace.

Continuing Professional Development is important because it ensures you continue to be competent in your trade or profession. CPD is an ongoing process and continues throughout a professional’s career. It is important to enable you to get ahead and to stay ahead, furthering your career and improving your income. The ultimate outcome of well-planned Continuing Professional Development process is that it safeguards the public, your employer, you as a professional person and your professional career. Well crafted and properly delivered continuing professional development is important because it delivers benefits to you, your profession, your employer and the public.

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 customers, clients and the community.

CPD ensures that you and your knowledge stay relevant and up to date. You are kept aware of the changing trends and directions in your profession. The pace of change is probably faster than it’s ever been. 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 and interesting. 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 and technology within your profession

CPD can lead to increased public confidence in individual professionals and in their profession as a whole CPD contributes to improved protection and quality of life, the environment, sustainability, property and the economy.

The importance of Continuing Professional Development should not be underestimated. It is a career-long obligation for practicing professionals. Often Continuing Professional Development is mandated by professional organisations, such as the SAIP, or required by their codes of conduct or codes of ethics.

However, at the core, it is your personal responsibility as a professionals to keep your knowledge and skills current so that you can deliver the high quality of service that safeguards the public and meets the expectations of both your customers and the requirements of your chosen career or profession.

Continuing Professional Development should be engaging and fun too. Sometimes it’s difficult to find a relevant course that fits in with your other obligations. Sometimes, as you walk out of a course or seminar it is hard to assess what you have actually learned. Have you fully understood what was delivered or taught? Was the subject matter relevant to you? Have you absorbed the necessary skills and will you be able to apply them correctly in your workplace? Will they advance your career? Look beyond the basic requirements of your immediate job or workplace responsibility. Look at the greater business needs. Expand your skills set. Consider recognised courses on Project Management, Risk Management, Finance and the Environment, Technical Writing and Sales and Marketing.

SAIP recognises a wide variety of activities and actions that can enhance your professionalism and will reward you with points which count towards retaining or improving your membership grades.