The Importance of CPD

Continuing professional development (CPD) is the learning and development that you undertake that contributes to being effective in your profession. If you are a member of a professional association you are almost certainly required to commit to completing a CPD record each year documenting activities you have undertaken to maintain your professional status within your chosen discipline. CPD is a tool for self-management of your development.

So long as they add value to your work, a wide range of activities can contribute to your CPD record. According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) this could include

  • in-house or external training
  • study leading to a qualification, which may be vocational
  • conferences, workshops and seminars
  • membership of a planning group or committee
  • work-based research
  • reading professional magazines and journals
  • relevant hobbies, leisure activities and voluntary work

Keep all evidence of your CPD activities, for example certificates from previous study or training. It's easy to disregard internal training, but make a note of how it changed your ability to do your work as it may prove vital when you apply for future jobs. Reflecting on your personal development is crucial to ensuring that you make the most of your CPD activities.

CPD not only helps you improve your knowledge, skills and competence in the workplace but also to achieve your career goals and contributes to your lifelong learning. You can use your CPD record as part of a development review with your employer as it adds new levels of meaning to an appraisal or review, and may be useful in negotiating training and development support.

The CIPD provides useful guidance on organising your CPD, including questions to help reflect on your learning experiences, templates for recording CPD activity and a section on managing CPD while on a career break.

Personal Development Plan (PDP)

You can chart your CPD by using a personal development plan (PDP). The value lies in helping you organise, record and evaluate your CPD. Update your PDP at least once a year, review what you've learned, review targets and set goals for the coming year. Use an action plan and ensure your plan is SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.

A personal development plan should use a structured framework to:

  • audit your skills
  • identify and build the skills you need for the future
  • identify what your ambitions are and how to achieve them
  • focus on study, career and personal development options and goals
  • build an information source for
    • CVs, job applications and interviews
    • appraisals at work
    • demonstrate readiness for promotion or development opportunities.

If you are not sure where to start then a personal SWOT analysis is a good idea, consider your Strengths, Areas for further Development, Opportunities and Threats. Talking to a career coach or mentor may be enlightening as you work through this analysis.

To see how CDS could help you or you team further please call 0333 240 8115 or email

Posted: Monday 11 June 2018

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