When it comes to professional development and growth, the pursuit of excellence knows no bounds. Continuous learning has become the cornerstone of success for ambitious individuals across various industries. From healthcare to finance, education to engineering, CPD has emerged as a powerful tool for maintaining and improving professional competencies.
1. What is CPD?
CPD, or Continuing Professional Development, is not just an acronym; it’s a roadmap to continuous improvement. It’s the deliberate act of enhancing your knowledge, skills, and competencies beyond formal education. Involving the process of developing, maintaining and documenting your professional skills, it’s almost like a never-ending quest for growth.
In the context of the UK, CPD is highly regarded by many employers and regulatory bodies such as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for those in banking. It underscores a commitment to maintaining competence, upholding ethical standards, and adapting to the ever-evolving demands of a rapidly changing work environment.
In general, there are 5 types of CPD courses that you might find available:
- Leadership and Management; think team management and decision-making abilities.
- Technical Skills Development such as coding languages and digital marketing.
- Professional Ethics and Compliance which are courses addressing ethical considerations and industry-specific compliance standards like ACCA.
- Personal Development which are courses aimed at personal growth and well-being, including time management and communication skills.
- Specialized Industry Training that includes courses tailored to specific industries, such as healthcare and finance.
While there might not be a legal obligation for employers to provide skill development courses, there are plenty of initiatives taken by the UK government to help employers and employees alike fund their CPD journey, including the Education and Skills Funding Agency.
2. Who should take CPD?
The answer is as straightforward as it gets: anyone who has a genuine desire to excel in their profession and stay ahead in a rapidly evolving world is a great fit for CPD. It is not limited to a specific group of individuals or a particular stage in one’s career. You can consider it an open door that welcomes everyone.
Nonetheless, there might be a fine print to consider. A subtle caveat that serves as the cornerstone of CPD is having a clear vision and a resolute mission. Unlike some courses available out there, most CPD programs such as project management and cloud computing are very niche. Equipped with advanced terms and modules, learners may find it difficult to be invested if they lack passion and interest. Hence, before beginning a professional development journey, it’s important to note the following questions:
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- Are you looking to advance in your current field or explore a new topic?
- Are you willing to invest your time (and often times – money) in a course?
3. Why Do People Take CPD?
At its core, CPD is a bridge between aspiration and actualisation. It provides a tangible pathway for professionals to bridge the gap between where they are and where they envision themselves. Commonly found motivations in CPD may be:
- Material. For many ambitious individuals in the UK, CPD serves as a catalyst for climbing the career ladder. They’re often fueled by a desire to stand out in a competitive job market to secure higher pay and better work benefits.
- Career Development. Lifelong learners are drawn to CPD like bees to nectar. Often motivated by the prospect of becoming industry leaders, influencers, or subject matter experts, CPD is the best tool for their mission. With plenty of resources available online such as free career advice in the UK by the National Career Services, you could easily begin your CPD today.
- Personal Fulfillment. Many individuals embark on CPD journeys to feed their intellectual curiosity and feed their curiosity. Professionals seeking personal fulfilment through CPD often find themselves enriched not only with knowledge but also with a renewed sense of purpose and vitality.
While motivations may vary from one professional to another, the passion to expand horizons and evolve is a common trait found in CPD learners.
4. Where To Get CPD Courses?
In the UK, numerous institutions and organisations offer CPD courses tailored to various professions and industries. Here are a few popular platforms where professionals can find CPD courses:
- Accredited Training Providers like Mandatory Training. Look for accredited training providers that offer CPD courses aligned with your professional needs.
- Professional Associations and Regulatory Bodies such as ACCA. Industry-specific associations and governing bodies often provide CPD opportunities and resources for their members.
- Universities and Colleges, A well-known institution would be Oxford. Higher education institutions tend to provide short courses, allowing professionals to expand their knowledge and skills in a structured academic setting.
- Online Learning Platforms such as Learning People and Learning Curve Group. These platforms provide flexibility and accessibility for learners.
In a world where change is constant and innovation is the norm, CPD equips us with the tools to adapt and thrive. It provides the means to stay current, relevant, and competitive in our chosen fields. If you’re looking to grow as a professional in your field, explore CPD and use it as a bridge to connect with the vision that you see of yourself in the coming years.